We lost Zona two weeks ago now. I am in the middle of missing Zona, full of grieving and sadness and dysfunction. Yet my life seems to keep happening. What I need is for life to stop just long enough for me get my s*@t together so I can start functioning again.
But my cast of characters just keeps on needing stuff, like dinner and signatures on forms. I just cannot right now. I just cannot. I want to sit in the middle of my grief and be sad. But instead of allowing that, my kids want me to mom up and start cooking and signing and generally paying attention. And that is where our story begins…
Two nights ago as I am trying to make dinner out of leftovers and peanut butter, my oldest little walks down the stairs – mind you, four hours after I picked him up from school…in my car…where he sat talking about his day right next to me for the entire 20 minute drive home – and announces that he was in fact chosen for the environmental learning trip at school and leaves Monday. They had a meeting about it during Prime Time this morning. He informs me (surprise, surprise) that he was apparently chosen to go. My mouth drops open. Is this the same trip I asked you about 6 weeks ago when the list of attendees was posted at school? The same trip you told me you were too late turning in your paperwork to get chosen for participation? The trip I threw all the information away about because YOU WEREN’T GOING? That trip? And you leave Monday?
He hands me the packing list, which includes everything one needs to survive out of doors in the Savage North in February (please note this morning air temperature at the camp was -18 degrees).
I notice he needs two pairs of mittens (1 change of clothes for four days, but two pairs of mittens). The fact that all the mittens in our house have magically disappeared since December does not go unnoticed by me. It turns out the black hole that sucks one sock from every pair my children own also attracts mittens. And now my oldest little needs two complete pair of mittens for this trip…that he leaves for IN FIVE DAYS.
In the Savage North, we follow the same calendar as the rest of the civilized world. Which means it is currently the middle of February. And just like the rest of the northern hemisphere, we in the Savage North are SO DONE with winter. So despite all the white stuff on the ground outside, the stores encourage us by selling items that make us think of spring break and Easter. Mittens are gone.
I say to my oldest little, as the panic rises in my throat, You have no mittens and the stores do not have mittens for purchase, dear child, because it is FEBRUARY.
To which my teenage child tilts his head to the right while looking at me with big doe eyes while he sarcastically says, Amazon? I mean we have until Monday.
Thank you Amazon Prime for allowing us to live in a world where you don’t have to plan more than two days ahead.
I stomp to the computer full of contempt…and embarrassment because I should have thought about Amazon. However, the Amazon reality is mittens cost more money than I am willing to spend on something that will just disappear into the black hole. So I decide to at least try the outdoor store at the closest shopping center. They might still have stuff for winter since they celebrate all things outdoors.
I am in luck! It turns out they have mittens…on sale…two pairs for less than $28! Joy of all joys, I am back on top!
As I check out, the sales associate asks me how I am doing today. She asks this rhetorically, I know. But the grief has removed my filter. So I say, You know that moment your child comes home from school to inform you that they have been “chosen” to go on the environmental learning trip NEXT WEEK…UP NORTH…and your realize you have no mittens left in the entire house?
And it is February, she says.
And it is February. I agree. So no stores anywhere have mittens. But YOU do! So, right now, I am fantastic and very grateful for YOU. That is how I am.
She smiles and then laughs a knowing laugh and says, You have a teenager in the house.
She knows, this brilliant mitten carrying store associate. She knows. Which makes me even more grateful.
Then she looks at me and says, Someday you will miss ‘em. You will.
And this makes me think about Zona, and grief, saying goodbye, and missing. And instead of wishing I could just step out of life, I respond, I hope I will…and I get the chance to practice next week!
She laughed and again I was extremely thankful sales associates who provide encouragement, laughs, and mittens in February. Life is full of saying goodbye and missing, but it is also full of people to help us through.