Piles

I tossed a bag of bread into the darling basket labeled bread, only filled with everything but.
 

What the hell happened to just plopping the bread on the shelf, America? Why does everything have to be so catalog cute? 

I looked around this too big house that has homed us for a year and felt how I do most days, like a child playing grown-up.

Since I’ve been able to form thoughts, I’ve been a square peg in a round hole, a slippery fish out of water, an occasionally inept girl whose britches are way too big. I have lived in doubt, managing to be just loud and self-deprecating enough to somehow convince the world otherwise.

I can be chaotic and that’s an understatement. My thoughts are scattered far and wide. The state of my closet mimics that of my mind — reasonably accessible but sort of all over the place — piles of clothes and thoughts shoved into corners in the hope they’ll dissapear, if only for a minute. I am forgetful and I procrastinate and I don’t always love to cook dinner. I lack a filter and walk around most days with my foot planted firmly in my mouth. I don’t know when to shut up. I am all or nothing. I can be defensive and exhaustingly mistrustful. Some might even say that I’m a bit of a handful. I prefer work in progress.

***

When I moved into this house I ran as fast as I could from the old one, and even faster from the girl who had lived there. The girl who’d been duped into believing it was she, rather than her relationship, that was defective.

In an effort to be loveable, I knew I had to get my shit together. So I organized my house with the sweetest bins and baskets, and held tight to the hope that my mind would soon follow. I tried my best to close cabinet drawers and doors, and labeled everything I could think to label — myself included. I hung up the piles of clothes and threw the thought pile in a box labeled “fragile handle with care.” I bought a huge calendar and wrote things like “soccer practice” and “snack day” with a pretty new Sharpie. I signed up to be room mom for both boys’ classes, which seemed like a lot but still totally manageable, considering I had that new calendar. I tried fitting myself into so many boxes.

Each morning I carefully put on my gosh she sure does has life by the balls mask. I was Allison 2.0 – now with less shit show! I went to the grocery store to buy responsible adult food I wouldn’t eat, but had already made a god damn label for.

I played the role of proper adult well, despite how fast my head was spinning.

Once I had everything all nice and prettied up, I went out on cookie cutter dates decked out as the new improved lovable me. The men I dated matched me perfectly on paper. Between that and my foolproof plan, I was sure to find a prince who found my quirks and shenanigans endearing.

I waited behind my towering wall to feel the magic that had always eluded me.

And waited…
And waited…

And waited…

Just as I was researching convents, I met a man who felt different but incredibly familiar. He was nice. So nice, in fact, that I erred on the side of extraordinary caution, because I’d already seen that movie a few times and the ending sucked.

Initially, I kept myself tucked safely behind the wall, but over time I grew bolder and began peeking over more and more. But with every peek, I inadvertently exposed more of my real self – the one with all the unlovable piles. After each exposure, I waited patiently for the inevitable fallout. Oddly enough, however,  every time I peeked over the wall he was still standing there and even closer. With every slip of my mask and break in character, he laughed louder and held me closer. It was almost as if he actually liked the real me — even, or maybe especially, the messy unlovaeble parts I was trying so hard to hide from him.

Slowly, I grew more confident and showed him more of my unlovable.

“I am broken and terrified. You should run.” I told him.

And he did run. Only he ran towards me, rather than away. Through it all, he held my fears softly and patiently until I was ready to let them go. He knew I needed more assurance than any confident women should, and he gave it to me time and again with a smile.

“I’m not going anywhere. Period.” he has said to me more times than I can count, without an ounce of annoyance.

It’s like he’s hell bent on sabotaging my self-sabotaging or something.

In time, his side of the wall began feeling much safer. And considering I could be myself, hot mess and all, it was also much less work.

I’m still getting used to being with a man who always puts me first, even when it’s not the most convenient; a man who accepts all of me, even those parts I was convinced were defective; a man I’ve been searching for my whole life. He is kind to his core and honest. He is better to my boys than I am. He makes me feel safe. And it doesn’t hurt that he’s hot and makes me belly laugh like no other.

I still apologize more than I should. The fear that I’ll lose this still creeps up, albeit less and less. But, this place that I am in — oh this lovely place — has me being kinder and gentler to myself, and inspired to jump back in to all the things I love.

***

We are moving again next week, to a smaller house on a street where the boys can ride bikes…to a house that feels like home, much like he does. This house will have piles on the closet floor, but it will be free of masks.

And this time around I’m taking myself along. Turns out, I’m not so bad after all.

This Old New House.

I woke up around nine on Thanksgiving morning and, but for the clink clink clink of the fan and my dog licking her butt, the house was painfully silent. Nothing was as it should be. I made myself a cup of coffee, grabbed my … Continue reading

Tell it to My Heart

Most days, I push it away okay.

Most days, I shake my head back and forth when I think of her, in an attempt to rattle the thoughts from my head.

Most days, I’ve accepted that I’ve lost her. Maybe not the physical her, but the real her.

All I’m left with is a shell.

All I’m left with is someone I’ve known for 35 years, but have never met before.

Just when I’ve had a week or so of most days, a feeling of panic washes over me at the most random of times. It knocks me down. It lays me out.

When the panic hits, it manifests itself in one of two ways: anger or sadness.

Mostly, I prefer the former, because it’s easier to feel the anger than the sadness. (Although, my blood pressure and twitter stream would likely disagree.)

This family of ours has dealt with too much pain and death, and mostly all at once, these past five years.

And, here we go again, into something that feels exactly the same and completely different.

The same emotions felt in a completely foreign way.

When we lost them in the plane crash, I felt a sadness that I’ll never be capable of describing with words. To this day, the mere thought of them makes me psychically ache.

With this, the sadness is equally inexplicable and painful, but it’s coupled with such intense anger at the very person I’m missing and mourning.

Sure, I was angry at the universe when we lost our Jacominis, but I was certainly never mad at them.

I am mad at her.

Mad that she’s choosing this fate. Mad that she’s shrunk my family of three down to a family of two. I’m so mad at how many people are feeling this loss and that we’re all locked in this prison with her, and I’m fucking furious that she doesn’t give a shit. I’m angry that, despite my best efforts and my fake facade, this is affecting the most important relationships in my life. And, I’m mad and disappointed at myself for being weak enough to let it.

Feeling so much anger will eat at your soul and slowly chip away at your spirit. Even so, it’s better than the sadness that lies below it.

To have someone you love so deeply be on this earth physically, yet not emotionally or mentally, is gut-wrenching. To slowly watch someone disappear, piece by painful piece, is heart-breaking. And, to have zero control over any of it? Helpless.

I’ve given love to her and I’ve given hate. I’ve been patient and I’ve lost my shit completely. I’ve opened my heart completely and handed it to her, only to have it spit at, stomped on, and thrown back at me. I’ve told her I miss her and I’ve told her to go fuck herself.  Despite it all, she keeps moving farther and farther away. She’s getting smaller by the day and I can barely see her anymore.

People, with only the best of intentions, say over and over again that tough love is what it takes. They tell me to move on and not let her dictate my emotions any longer.

And, I get all that. I really get it.

At least my brain does, anyway.

But, the thing is, no one’s ever been able to tell me how the hell I’m supposed to convince my heart of all this.

It simply will not listen.

And, my greatest fear is that, much like her, it never will.

What’s Mine Is (Not) Always Yours.

A conversation with Luca, four years old.

~ ~ ~

Luca: Mommy, where are those muffins you bought me?

Me: Hmm, I have no idea, baby. I’ll buy you more later.

Three Hours Later:

Luca: *holding up an empty muffin bag he found stashed under my bedside table*    MOMMY. WHAT IS THIS? WHO ATE MY MUFFINS?

Me: *Frozen with fear* Ummm, I did baby, last night after you went to bed. I’m so sorry. I’ll go get you new ones.

Luca: That’s a very mean thing to do, mommy.

Me: Luca, we all live here, and our food is for all of us.

Luca: Then why did you get so mad at daddy for eating your enchiladas the other day?

~ ~ ~

Fucking kids, man.

Leslie: My Photographer…My Friend.

I met Leslie Gaworecki during my search for our wedding photographer.

Even before I saw her work, I knew she was the one for me.

I could sense her gentle spirit and her kind soul….and we just clicked.

And, she did not disappoint….as a photographer, or a person.

She captured so much that day.

Nerves….

Excitement….

Celebration…

Love…

And beautiful keepsakes of the four family members we would unexpectedly lose just two years later…

 

She’s given us a huge gift, allowing us to measure our children’s growth through her photographs…

And, she’s stuck with our insane family all these years, capturing memories sure to have otherwise been forgotten…

Nearly seven years have passed since I met Leslie.

And, things have changed.

I’m no longer the giddy, naive girl I was that day I walked into her office.

I’ve been hit with hard-cold life, tragedy, and blessings too big to count…each event written in soft lines around my eyes.

It’s no longer just me.

My family of one is now four.

And my dear friend is still beautifully chronicling this funny little journey called life.

Thank you, Leslie, for putting up with my crazy. And, for knowing me just well enough to capture who we are.

I’m forever grateful for you, my friend.