White Winged Dove

Dad,  

I had to check the calendar just now to see how many days it's been since you died.

Only two. 

It's been so long since I last heard your voice that it feels longer. I keep replaying the last time you said "hey baby" in my head over and over and over again because I want to hold onto it. I lost everything else of you so long ago - I need to keep that. 

I'm sitting in the ER right now dealing with this cough I've had for a month but I never told you about because the last time we talked I didn't have it. I came here after we went to look at the house we are buying on Tuesday but I never told you about because the last time we talked you were using your cancer to try to get money out of me and I didn't want you to know about the house because telling I can't give you money breaks my heart and makes me angry and pushes so much shit to the surface. This house is new shit, we are leaving the old stuff behind.  

I guess even you. 

Today I had to pop open my old Dyson canister vacuum that's too good to throw out and too busted to use without Macguyevering, and to do so I grabbed your old pocket knife - one of the few artifacts of our life together I managed to smuggle out of it. I've done this dozens of times, and even though every time I've held it I've rubbed my thumb over its grooves and imagined you somewhere in your past doing the same, when I did it today it was different. Maybe because I'll never get to have you do it again. It'll always be something you did and I do, never something we've done

There is so little that we've done other than this push and pull we do so well. You left when I was 6 and you left again when I was 11 and you let me leave you when I was 13 and 15 and then you finally took me when I was on the edge of seventeen but that didn't work out really how either of us planned because I really just wanted a father and you just never figured out how to do that. I know that has a lot to do with the fact that no one did it for you, but honestly it's time for us all to admit this "dad" thing just wasn't your jam. 

We're out of chances to try to prove that wrong.  

And that's where I'm the saddest. I'm sad for you, that you missed this crazy thing called parenting. I'm sad that you won't ever understand the sheer wonderful magnitude of the son you made, or the children that came from him. I'm sad that you never knew my sons who are so much like you it breaks me sometimes. I'm sad that you won't see your granddaughter grow into the strong, crazy, opinionated, talented kind of woman that equally scares and intrigues you. I'm sad for what I think you thought of me in your last years, and especially in your last days. 

 

I Have a Hard Time Reconciling Myself With the Fact That I Legally Acquired This

In my 40 years of life, I've done a good amount of self-medicating/harming in the name of trying to feel something less or trying to feel something more, or to be more or less punk rock, or to get or forget that person, or to get something started or to omg make it stop, but nothing -  not all the tattoo needles and safety pins and razor blades and shot glasses and prescription bottles in the world - will compare to confusion and pain and emptiness and shame that follows one standard application of a NetiMed Sinus Rinse.

 

Related: Momma say Diva Cups are da debil.

Burn Burn Burn

Every year since #Blogust began in 2012, the Shot@Life team has asked me to participate in some challenge to help raise awareness for the program and donations of vaccines for kids around the world. The surface challenge is easy – ask you to leave a comment and every comment you leave = one vaccine donated. Simple, right? The real challenge for me however is right here, these posts. They never just say “Ask your readers to comment,” they say “Hey, can you write a post about a woman halfway around the world doing the kind of work that humbles you so much it hurts?” Or “Yo, how about you pick one quote, any quote in the whole entire world full of quotes, to inspire children?”

When I was a kid, 17 or so, old enough to not realize I was a kid still, I was walking down the street in the city I lived in and the cover of a book caught my eye. I picked it up and read the first page I opened to. And the next page. And the one after that. I bought that book and still have it to this day. It’s tattered and worn, 23 years later. It’s full of scribbles and notes, highlighter and circles. It’s also full of the person I became because of it. No one had more of an impact on shaping the woman, the mother, the human I’d become than Audre Lorde. If I have to choose someone’s quote to share to inspire my kids, your kids, the limitless sea of kids on the internet and in the world, it’s going to be her.

And if I have one wish for all of those kids, it’s to realize that there is something inside of them that can be a force for whatever good they want to make happen. Sometimes all that takes is a pen and paper, or a keyboard and a Twitter account.

Audre_Lorde_Blogust15

Give a kid a shot at a healthy, long life, so they have the chance to find out what they’ve got and use it. Leave a comment here (or on Facebook or Twitter, of course) and we’ll donate a vaccine to a kid in need. Any comment will do, but I’d love to hear the quotes, the song lyrics, the lines, the verses that move and define and inspire you.

During Shot@Life's Blogust 2015—a month-long blog relay—some of North America's most beloved online writers, photo and video bloggers and Shot@Life Champions will come together and share inspirational quotes for their children. Every time you comment on this post and other Blogust contributions, or take action using the social media on this website, Shot@Life and the United Nations Foundation pages, one vaccine will be donated to a child around the world (up to 50,000).

(after you comment here, head over to the amazing Erika's blog and comment on her heartwarming post today, too.)

Dies Hier

Hello, old blog. It's been a while. 

I went backwards, reading my past 30 entries or so (which got me to 2013, wow) to see where I left off and try to piece together what's been said (and what hasn't). I realized that it's all just too weird and complicated to attempt a digital backfill, so maybe it's better to just start where I am right now. 

Where I am right now is Düsseldorf, Germany.  What I've learned one day (or is it two days with the time change?) in is that Germany is not fucking around. Germany brings you a goddamn plate of sauerkraut. 

They also just keep refilling your bier until you give them money and leave, and if you don't speak German and try to order anything to drink other than bier, they just bring you kaffee.  Which they will never refill.

Neither Jim nor I speak a single word of German and know not a single German custom (despite my having birthed three German-Americans, which buys you a lot less of a pass in actual Germany than you'd think), but we're figuring it out. Our friend from Berlin gave us this shockingly helpful book and so we knew to expect a lot of potatoes (no sauerkraut spoilers, thankfully) and to not expect, um, service

We'll be in Germany for a few days, and then head back to Amsterdam where we had a short and productive layover yesterday (two days ago? What day is it again?) during which I ordered a short flat white at the airport and walked away with what Jim's mom says is a perfectly valid Chinese name, so I'm going to keep it. #ThanksRutte*.

We're here for work - Jim's work specifically, but I work there, too, and I realize that I've not actually talked (here or on social) about leaving my old job at BlogHer way back in 2013. I haven't talked about a lot of things, but a lot of things kept right on happening anyway. 

We're going to Berlin on Thursday and while we're there, we're going to tour all of the old stuff that a U.S. girl born in the 70s thinks of first when she thinks Berlin - the wall, the Führerbunker where Hitler killed himself. As I understand it, the wall won't be terribly hard to find or see, but the Hitler stuff? Gone. A parking lot near a playground and some apartments.

Berlin is not backfilling. Berlin is very good at saying this, here, is where we are. This, here, is what we're doing. Keep doing THIS. I could learn a thing or two from Berlin. 

The past year - hell, the past two years -  have been the most amazing, crazy, wild ride and it's been moving so fast I haven't been able to do anything except hold on tight and see where it takes all of us. Some of it was really hard, some of it really amazing, and some of it is still working itself out (some of it probably never will). I could go back and hash my way through it all, lay out everything I wish I'd done and said differently, tell all of the stories so that I don't forget them.

I could explain what the hell happened to my domain name - why I changed it in the first place, and why it's back to the old one.
I could write out what getting a piece of mail that said my 15 year marriage was over felt like.
I could tell you about finding one brother and losing another one.

Or maybe I'll let myself forget some of it, and just start with this, here, today. The sun came up in Germany a little while ago, and there is sauerkraut to eat. 

 

*I'm well aware that no one gets that**. I hardly got it. Bygones.
**He's the prime minister of Holland. You know, Holland's Obama? Oh, nevermind.