Posted by: Jenny | September 22, 2013

The Visitor

Today is my favorite day of the year. Actually, it’s tied with a day we saw in March.

It’s the first day of autumn, which I anticipate with as much joy as the first day of spring. And when either of those days happen to coincide with picture-perfect weather worthy of that day, even better.

The windows are thrown open and air conditioner off. Sunny skies and mild temperatures invigorate me this weekend, boosting my energy enough to be way more active than usual.

I love change, and when we observe a fresh, new season, I’m giddy with anticipation. Well, that’s really not accurate – I don’t feel this when winter sets in. Summer…well, yes, I love June 21, but not like Sept. 22 or March 21.

December 21, I loathe. Probably because, by this point, in this part of the world, winter has already reared her ugly, unyielding head. And while the seasons are allotted equal days on calendars, summer and winter seem to hog more of their fair share.

And so, when the first day of fall actually looks, feels and smells like it should, it seems we’ve been given a gift, along with a reprieve from the 90s and the high humidity and the unbreathable air that we’ve had since early June. It’s a transition, and in this case, a very gentle transition, between the extremes of weather.

In a fair and just world, this weather would last until December 20, making the most of cool and comfortable temperatures and sunny skies. In a fair and just world, winter would rarely dip below 32 degrees, and would come and go gracefully and quietly, without brutal ice storms and wind chills below zero.

Spring would come just as expected, not when a rodent in Pennsylvania determines it will, and it would consist of gentle breezes and gentle spring showers and plenty of sunshine. And summer would keep its ridiculous scorching hot temperatures and suffocating humidity to a bare minimum, hauling them out once or twice, maybe, and certainly not for month after unbearable month. 

The four seasons often seem like two seasons, with some transitional weather thrown in here and there. Maybe that’s why I love spring and fall so much – because they so rarely take full reign when it’s their turn. They are special, unexpected, brilliant and beloved. They’re like that friend from college you see far too infrequently, but when you do, you tear up the town.

Here in Indiana, we don’t often experience spring and autumn on their inaugural day. They seem to come whirling in a month late, stick around for a day or two, then sit back and allow the previous season to make an unwelcome comeback for another week or three. When you think about it, they are the lazy seasons. Perhaps like that old friend from college.

But I do love them. Dearly. And feel such wonder and happiness when they finally come to visit.

Posted by: Jenny | September 8, 2013

Dreams & Change

Last night found me sobbing in the halls of Fishers High School….or was it Hamilton Southeastern High School….wait, maybe it was Terre Haute North High School. Well, it was one of the high schools that my kids attended, and I was crying because my youngest is a senior in high school.

It was just a dream, another instance of my brain hard at work while I sleep. Today, I’m left with an uneasy feeling in my gut. I’m really not that sad that it’s our last year with a child living at home. Really, I’m not. I’m looking forward to the light at the end of the tunnel, the elusive “empty nest” that my friends crow about.

Or am I?

For years, my “empty nest” date was going to be 2008, when my third son graduated high school. Then, in 2006, that date extended by 6 years when I married my husband and took over the full-time mom role to 11-year-old Sophie. Ok, 2014, here we come!

This part actually happened: Last night, my husband, daughter, her boyfriend and two friends went to their high school football game. It was a special game, played at the Colts stadium, against a county rival. We sat in a luxurious suite, courtesy of a local college who gave away tickets to high school seniors in a recruiting effort to lure them to their school.

It was grand, watching the boys battle it out on the field that the Indianapolis Colts would play on the next day in their season opener. Sophie and friends chattered away throughout the game; my husband impressed me with his spooky (and accurate) predictions of plays; and we somehow successfully avoided the hard sell from the campus admissions reps.

All in all, a wonderful time, even if the game did go into three overtimes (but, we won). Maybe it was the combination of hot dog and ginormous chocolate chip cookie that caused my dreams to short-circuit last night; or maybe it was the fact that I was out way past dark, but my brain, in an effort to help me make sense of my life, turned the event into something else.

I dreamed that we were walking through the halls of….well, wherever…..and I panicked. I realized that my life of being a daily mom were coming to an end, and I started crying. Actually, I was sobbing, near hysteria, and didn’t care who saw it.

Yesterday, I awoke with a new “memory” of my buddy, Mark, who’s been gone 6 years, after a remarkably vivid dream. It made me cry, feeling grateful for the new memory and devastated again by the loss of my friend.

Today, I awoke feeling that I experienced the death of a time in my life when I was the most important person in the whole wide world to four precious children.  I am grateful for the memory we created last night at the football game – a real, true memory. But again, loss is elbowing its way into the gratitude, reminding me that things will never be the same.

Think I’ll take a sleeping pill tonight.

Posted by: Jenny | September 7, 2013

In Dreams

Last night I spent time with my late, great friend, Mark Daly.

In my dream, he and his wife, Nicole, were having a “Night Before We Paint The Walls” party. Guests were invited to write messages on the walls that were to be painted over. Mark wanted his family surrounded by loving – or funny – messages from their friends and family. He also dug the idea that in 100 years, when some young couple set out to make this house their home, they might start stripping layers of paint and discover these messages, much like a home restorer might find old newspapers in the attic.

Did they ever do this in real life? Not that I know of. Did Mark ever have this thought? Maybe, maybe not. But I don’t think it’s accidental that I dreamed that he did.

As I’ve grown older, I’ve come to believe that our loved ones visit us in our dreams. Maybe it’s the influence of “The Sixth Sense”; I don’t know. But there’s something so comforting when I dream about my dad, or my grandma, or my friends long gone from my sight.

While I know it’s the neurons and synapses in my brain creating these dreams, I still feel as though I’ve spent time with those I miss so dearly; I still feel I discovered something fresh about the person I long to spend time with.

Mark died in February 2007. Today, I’ve been reminiscing. Remembering his gigantic personality, his sense of humor, the love he had for his wife and kids, the deep friendships he cultivated, and the influence he had on me. Today, I feel like he gave me another insight into who he was. Although I’m certain there are no hidden messages beneath the paint in Nicole’s house, the long-ago laughter that filled their home when Mark was alive still cloak his family in love.

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