Happy “Old New Year’s Day”

Apparently, our current Gregorian calendar has only been in use since 1582 when it was introduced by Pope Gregory XIII.  The “old school” calendar that was used prior to his creation recognized March 25th – the Feast of the Annunciation – as New Year’s Day. I was surprised to learn that Russia and several other countries held out on adopting the Gregorian calendar until the early 1900’s.

Today, however, will always be known to me as the day my mother died. I’m struggling to grasp this fact, because despite it being an entire year ago, it sometimes feels very surreal. During the final few years of her life we had more downs than ups. We struggled on so many levels. She was spiraling into her world of dementia and I was spiraling into my world of… whatever. So many things were falling apart in my life that I just accepted that we were falling apart, too. I’m not going to rehash all of the hurtful things that occurred because there’s just no point to it now. But I have come to the realization that there are times that you always want your mother, no matter how old you are and no matter how dysfunctional your relationship has been.

2011 was a very poopy year for me. Mom’s death was just the beginning of a chain of many other devastating events. Some of them I’ve explained here on my blog but many of them I haven’t discussed at all because they’ve just been too much to deal with in a public venue. But on more than one occasion, I know I’ve said to myself, “I want my mom.” And I’m genuinely grief-stricken to realize that she’s gone. Slowly, event by painful event, I’m realizing that she is gone. No longer can I put my head on her lap and feel her stroke my hair and tell me that everything is going to be all right. She’s not there to kiss away the boo-boos. Or warn me of the poor choice I’m about to make. Or encourage me to do the right thing.

Oh, okay. Those events were few and far between. I constantly struggled to make my mom proud of me. I know I’m overly critical of myself, but if she ever was proud, she was reluctant to say anything to me about it. She had told me on more than one occasion, “I love you, but I don’t like you very much.” Maybe it was because we were both stubborn. We both shut down emotionally when we were wounded. We both struggled with feeling loved. Maybe those issues played into our combative relationship. I don’t know. But whatever it was, we were more at odds with each other than not.

Regardless, there was a time last year where my skin was crawling and I had absolutely no hope of escaping a harrowing situation. My mind swirled with who I could possibly reach out to who would understand and offer me something – anything – other than what I was playing on a constant loop through my head. I wanted to die. I wanted my misery to end. And I knew the only person who would understand was my mom. Never in my entire life had I needed her more. And of all times for her to be unavailable, well, this was really not a good time for me to be without her. I knew she would be the one to help me. I knew she would encourage me to find the humor in the bad. That is one thing that we had in common and were able to share: a biting sense of humor. I knew she could help me if only she was here. But she wasn’t. And I felt as if I had no one.

In actuality, I had so much but didn’t realize until after the fact. I had so many people loving me and helping me and encouraging me, but mom’s glaring absence made the experience so much more painful than it needed to be. I missed her sense of humor. I missed that she would have made me laugh about it. I miss that maybe, just maybe, she would have been proud of how I handled myself in the midst of something truly horrific.

But I never told her that I needed her. Never once. And I think that broke her heart more than anything else. Now that she’s gone, well, that hole can never be filled. Something that could have been so easily reconciled if only she knew how much I needed her. But now, it’s too late. And I’m still stubborn. I don’t need anyone. I shut people out and turn people away and decide that I can do it by myself.

And for the most part, I can do it all by myself. But that’s no way to live. I’d like to think that I’ve learned my lesson – her last lesson to me – that waiting to say what you really mean is a waste. Each moment is precious. We only have right now.

While my earthly loss dictates that it’s too late for us I feel that I have to say it anyway: I need you, mom. I’ve always needed you. And I need you now more than ever. I wish we could have been better at being a mother and daughter. I’m sorry for being so stubborn. But I truly did learn from the best.

Our love was not perfect by any stretch, but I treasure it anyway. You have no idea how much I miss you. More than a million and twelve.




It’s “Learn What Your Name Means” Day

I know I covered this in a prior post so I won’t go into all the dirty details of how my name has evolved over the years. Only “Sarah” has remained intact, everything else just comes and goes. I’m a collector, I guess.

Today is also National Grammar Day. Now, I am not always perfect in my sentence structure but I do have trouble with basic grammatical errors. Knowing the difference between your and you’re is important to me. I also struggle when people confuse there, their, and they’re. While I love texting with my whole heart, I despise the “short cuts” of UR and using the number 2 to communicate the word “to”. It’s just one extra letter for crying out loud. But my real struggles come with grammatical errors in verbal communication. For instance, just two days ago I heard a grown man say “I don’t want no soup.” I tried not to shudder, but it was an involuntary reaction. I had no choice. I’m not a snob, I just don’t understand why grammar is so elusive to some. We learn it in the very beginning of our academic lives. It’s not like one needs an advanced degree to use correct grammar. Then again, I’m sure there’s a person out there who feels the same about Math. I suck at Math. I struggle with basic multiplication facts. I’m sure the Math Whiz watches me using my fingers to figure out 8×9 and thinks, “What an idiot.” And they’d be right. I can speak a good game but in reality I have no idea what I’m doing.

What it comes down to is that every single one of us has a deficiency in one area or another. I’m frowning on the grammatically incorrect person sitting next to me, while they’re frowning at someone for not knowing how to do something that THEY find to be important, and so on and so on. We all have faults.

No matter what our names happen to be.

It’s National Anthem Day

Did you know that our National Anthem has four verses? Holy crap. We, as Americans, are challenged to remember just one verse, let alone memorize all four stanzas of a poem that has such tricky words like ramparts and perilous and, and, and red. Tough stuff, that Star-Spangled Banner. We’d rather sit on the couch and watch “The Real Housewives of WhoGivesARat’sAss” than face the verbosity of a poem written by a lawyer in 1814. And, mistakenly, I always thought the song ended with a rousing yell to “PLAY BALL!” I had no idea that there were other verses. My bad.

As I was writing this first paragraph I thought to myself, “How cool would it be to have a Real Housewives of Historical Figures?” I can totally imagine Susan B Anthony (I know, she never married, but that never stopped BRAVO from casting their choices), Harriet Tubman, Annie Oakley and Mary Baker Eddy getting together and having some Victorian throw-downs. Oh, okay, my timing might be off, but it’s a good argument for reanimation of the dead. Ooooh! Real ZOMBIE Housewives of Historical Figures. This idea just keeps getting better. From there it can spin off into Real Housewives of American Presidents. I’d love to watch an episode where Martha Washington, Eleanor Roosevelt and Hillary Clinton scrap over whose china is prettier, wouldn’t you? Of course, we’ll have to throw in the occasional Whig. I’m so pitching this to BRAVO. I think this is the big break I’ve been waiting for. Now I just need to find someone to help me with the reanimation piece.

Okay, I’m pulling back from my warped fantasy land where my “brain director,” Steve, reigns supreme and giving myself a little reality check. Let’s see. I only posted once last month… THAT will be changing. I’ve been writing daily – thanks to the encouragement from my good friend, James, but it’s not really stuff that’s fit for posting. I need to get back in the groove but so many things have been making my needle jump track. Life has been so distracting lately, with trying to organize my apartment, doing the job hunt thing, planning the next trip to NYC for Ben’s therapy (hopefully there will only be THREE MORE of these torture sessions for him!), and just all the stuff that doesn’t want to cooperate with the flow of daily life. Like my dog forgetting how to poop outside. And laundry.

Speaking of which, I need to go. Laundry is staring at me and I’m quite confident that if I don’t take Yoshi out in the next five minutes he’s going to leave me another surprise. He has gotten better. I’m sure it’s simply an adjustment period to the new apartment, but we’ve still got a little work to do. Honestly, we’re all working on adjusting.

I’m just glad my anxiety manifests in other ways besides little piles of poop.