The Good Cry
Re-reading my last post, it seems, well, downright depressing. I appreciate everyone’s comments and your non-judgmental ways. What you don’t know is, right after I posted it, I cried and felt a lot better. Sometimes that’s all you need is a good cry. We went on to have a good Christmas, albeit everyone in the house had a trip to the doctor at least once within the past 10 days. It’s been a hard cold to shake, considering I can’t just stay in bed and rest. (Ahhh, remember those days?) But, thinking back here on my lunch break at work, it was a nice 10 days with the family. All of our relatives were away at other places, so it was just the four of us for about 90% of the time. Lots of pajama days, careless hours building train tracks, long conversations, cookie baking, tracking Santa on Norad, listening and sometimes dancing to lots of music, and eating lots of warm, home-cooked meals. We did get out a few times; to a friend’s to play WiiFit, to the local bowling alley, to our Statehouse for a tour, and to visit the light display at the Columbus Zoo. The last two being some of the “must-do’s” on our list that I’m glad we ventured out to experience:
The Statehouse tour
Wildlights at the Columbus Zoo
Look what Santa brought!
Baking cookies with my little helper
I think what strikes me more often than I want it to, is the eternal struggle with being something that I should be, rather than just being me. Flaws and all. But it begs the question in me, who am I really? I can’t seem to let the guard down long enough to figure that out. Dressing up in the corporate uniform in the morning and I need to shift my attitude to be one person, coming home at the end of the day I shift again to the mom, and then after bath time I’m trying to find the energy for one more hat: the artist. I know I am not the only one who deals with this. And I know this won’t last forever. And maybe I don’t hate it so much as I like to complain about it. Like I mentioned in my last post, I need the friction. Sometimes I feel like I need the internal strife to feel alive. Complacency = death.
When my dad died at 49, he was in the prime of his career as a packaging designer for Avon on Fifth Avenue in New York City. Even though internally his body was quite sick from hypercholesterolemia and atherosclerosis, he commuted 90minutes each way from our home in New Jersey (for years doctors wondered how he walking around considering veins were only giving blood to his heart at this time—any day now, any day now?). He loved his job. And he also sort of had a second job called Remkap Graphics, where he did freelance work for local clients on the weekends. He loved that, too. He was also a local councilman in our town. On July 2, 1987 my mother was away on a trip with her sisters in North Carolina, my brothers were already both living out of the house on their own, and so my dad and I were hanging out together that evening, and we listened to Paul Simon’s album “Graceland”.
And then on the day he died, he died in his bed, mid-morning, clutching his chest, having just combed his hair and brushed his teeth getting ready to spend a vacation day home from work on July 3, 1987. I found him at 3:30 in the afternoon.
I was never the same again.
We had a nice relationship. And it was over before it could ever get really bad because I was still a young teenager. So it will always be good whether it truly was or not.
I think the holidays are a good time to remember him since Christmas was his birthday, remember where I come from, where I’m headed and what I’ve learned from all these moments in life. One thing I do recall is that my father felt envious of my generation that we had so many choices, so many chances to do what we want to do with our lives. My parents both came from a small town and made their own way, without college degrees, without financial support from parents. That kind of stuff doesn’t happen anymore, and it’s because the world is a different place, not because my generation is a bunch of spoiled brats who can’t make it on their own, but because things are much more complicated.
So here I am, I’m trying to do so many things before my time is up. For me, it’s hard to settle on one thing. One goal, one ambition. Some people are born and know exactly what they want to do with their lives. I’m not that person. I have a lot of goals set out for myself this year, and I think I will be really psyched if at least one of them works out.
Everytime I reflect on my dad, and go through the lapse of self-pity like I did in my last post, I come around and realize that we’re all on this earth for a purpose, and we’re all here to live the best we can, to give what we can, to better the human race, to leave our mark as infinitesimal as it is on the lifespan of this universe. So here I am, leaping into another year with another to-do list I will probably not complete, but isn’t it grand that I can still complain about it? Isn’t it GREAT that I’m alive? Yes, yes it is!!!
Cheers to 2009.