Well excuse me while I clean up and dust around here….Spring cleaning, right?!?
Life is full of transitions…seasons change, people get married, people have babies, we change careers, people move their homes, etc. Some of life’s transitions are less visible though. We often feel them before we actually realize and recognize that they’re upon us. I recently read that we naturally (or subconsciously) have major transitions about every seven years. [Momentary pause while I count out with my fingers and toes how many years old I am…. :)] Hmm, if this theory is accurate that would mean I’m going through my fifth life transition cycle this year (I’ll wait while you do the math). To be honest, I could feel it creeping up on me earlier this year. It’s not so sneaky anymore, that or I’m getting wiser with these years.
One thing I did today–likely influenced by my need/want to “shake the dust off” of things in my life–really shook me tonight. For more then a week I’ve been wanting to make my hair shorter then it’s been. I do this sometimes, so it’s nothing new. But this time I went really short– I have only had it this short once before in my life and that was because I took a risk on a “stylist” I shouldn’t have. I watched her snip snip snip away my hair over the course of the hour it took her. I was comfortable and yet a little anxious about it. She blow dried it, straightened it out a bit to tame my fly-aways and we were done. I must have been either shocked or expressionless because she asked me if I liked it more then once. I quickly responded yes, thanked her, paid/tipped her and then was on my merry way. I didn’t wander around the stores or take peaks at myself in the mirrors along the way, I just left. I was just as abrupt getting in my car and driving back home. I never once really took a look at myself again after I left the salon. Dad commented shortly after I got to his house for dinner, but not in a shocking way–it was quite a boring evening to be honest.
When I got home, showered and blow dried my hair (yes, I know I just got it done but anyone who goes that short knows there’s no way to get rid of those little tiny stray clippings without showering) then it hit me!! Right then and there, in my bathroom, I lost it…I just balled my eyes out for a good 30 minutes, by myself (thankfully because it was one of those moments I likely wouldn’t have been able to articulate what it was that I was feeling). I wouldn’t even know who to tell if I did have someone. Why? Well, because tonight in that mirror, starring back at me was my Mom. I didn’t cry because I was regretting the decision to cut my hair short or even that she cut it a bit shorter then what I actually initially wanted. I was crying because I haven’t physically seen my Mom in almost eight years. Yet tonight, here she was starring back at me. I know, I’ve heard it over the years of how I look so much like her–both my sister and I do. But this was too eerily similar. This was not one of those passing comments–one which I spent most of my younger years dreading/loathing/defending against but recently embraced and would say “thank you” in response. This was beyond “I see the resemblance” and more “I’m looking at a ghost.”
There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about her. I know that there’s things I do that are very much like her and her way of doing things. I embrace that and I love that I’m able to keep that part of her alive. But tonight I felt like I can’t see certain people out of concern that I’ll upset them. Somehow through all that–more importantly–tonight reminded me that no matter how great of an accomplishment I may achieve in my life she will never be there physically to celebrate it with me. No matter how much weight I lose and healthy I become, no matter how many races I run, no matter how great of a job or money I make, no matter where I live, no matter who I marry, etc.
Sounds like I’m giving up, huh…? Quite the contrary. I say and realize all that to say this… Today I actually finally start to live my life for me. Not for the praise or promise of a parents’ love/admiration. I’m not ashamed to admit that a small part of me has held on to that belief from my childhood. I’m human. I guess the best way to say this–because it’s how she always used to say it to us (“so you have a real job now….you have a real place to live…etc.”)–today I live a real life! I wake up tomorrow for me! I’m passionate about a career that I chose and love! I’ll run because I can and love to (ok to be honest that may wait until Tuesday since I’m still trying to shake this cold)! But you get the point now. I started writing this blog through tears, but I had to start in order to get here. It’s a liberating feeling…which I didn’t really recognize that I was bound by until recently.
One more point and realization I’ve had over the years… I do recognize that many of the accomplishments, people I’ve met, relationships I’ve nurtured, and experiences I’ve had would likely not have happened without her passing. As hard as that sometimes is to say without tears, I know in my heart that’s a blessing and that’s one signed, sealed and delivered personally by her.
So stay tuned…we’ll see how this lives out together!
[No more tears…just one hell of a deep/long sigh, thankfully a less congested one…]