Michele Minehart

words & yoga

Category: woe

On Not Being There

My newsfeed erupted in photos capturing one of the most joyous occasions of my family’s shared history. I have to ignore Facebook altogether to avoid crumbling because it’s painful to be reminded over and over how I wasn’t there.

I didn’t smell the dust and beer and sweat of a day’s worth of celebration. I didn’t hear the jokes and laughter anticipating the big race. I didn’t pet Limelight Beach to give him a pep talk or a congratulatory hug. I didn’t see the horse take off out of the gate. I didn’t get a jab in the ribs when he never let up. No one hugged me in celebration and my cheeks didn’t burn from smiling in the hours following the winner’s circle picture.

Pile this atop the growing list of the ways in which I’m limited by my present reality. Living far from family with a gaggle of young children results in multiple occasions of sitting out the opportunities presented.

“It was just a horse race,” we can try to convince ourselves. (Yet all of the harness racing junkies will vomit in their mouth a little when I refer to the Jug as “just a race.”) Sporting event or not, the family experienced together. It will go in the books as something akin to Cruise 2000. My face will be absent in the pictures because I got the van fixed instead. Not by choice, but a result of circumstance.

Which is where it gets tricky. It was our choice, or so I hear, to have all these kids and move away and attempt to do this unassisted by kin. And while we mostly chose the size of our family and the way in which we spend our days, aware our life won’t share all similarities as others, we didn’t get any fine print to examine.

We anticipated having to rethink the way in which we vacation. We knew Christmas would be consistently small. It’s always been clear we would have to make hard decisions in regard to how we spend our time, specifically around extra-cirricular involvement by our kids. It was obvious money would always be in short supply. We weighed those decisions and found them worthy trades of the added personalities to our little homestead.

I love the little buggers, but nothing prepared me for the heartache of missing life’s moments like Thursday because we couldn’t find an all-day sitter. I wouldn’t trade our little big family for anything, but that doesn’t mean I can easily brush aside my frustrations. Joys outweigh hardships, but the challenges can still be heavy.

Similar to how it’s hard to say I’m pregnant, it’s difficult to share my feelings of frustration – I feel I don’t have a right to complain about the circumstances of life which I chose. Any parent is free to express feelings about challenges of kids, but the number of kids you have increases, so does the times you hear “well, you chose that” when you say these things out loud. As a result, I feel I must be silent about what keeps me up at night.

(Except for this blog, where I get to voice what ails me and put words to the feelings I didn’t fully realize until I start typing.)

Visit me elsewhere:

4 days in

A close circle of friends and I have been at war with the month of October for several years now. After the 3rd death in the dreadful month, someone started referring to it as (f)october. I’m not much of a swear-er, but if the shoe fits…

A bit of history: my husband lost his sister on the 11th of the month – this year will mark 10 years without her. A few years later KLR’s mother lost a battle to cancer. I didn’t have the privilege of ever meeting these 2 people, but the simple hurt of the people I love is enough to make it matter. But then we lost Vanessa  on the 17th, and even though it followed a major surgery, it still came as a shock to us all. She may have had little feet to match her small stature, but those were big shoes to fill in many hearts. I miss her, even when it’s not October. 
Then a few years later I miscarried at 12 weeks. Welcome to the grief club. 
So, save my birthday, the month of October represents a very low point to many of us. I suppose it’s fitting, as most of the things around us seem to be dying during this season, living where we do. It’s better than, say, being sad at Christmas. Or the 4th of July. Who wants to cry to fireworks?  
I’ve tried to do battle with this month, determining myself to be cheery and joyful. But I must say that it’s not started on the right foot. The past week has been a heavy one for our family, and though it seems we’ve turned a curve, it’s a dimly lit path ahead. 
And then, the chocolate. In my War on October I planned to venture to Girls’ Night, a celebration of friends and chocolate. But alas, the school calendar is in on the conspiracy and husband has conferences this evening, of which he knew nothing prior. At least 18 different reasons keep me from taking the kids with me, so instead I’ll just need to be grateful that I’m not consuming the extra calories via chocolate. Even though it’s common knowledge that calories don’t count in months that begin with the letter O. I shouldn’t put cancelled social plans on par with the grief of families I love; but resembles a cheap shot from an opponent after you’ve already Cried Uncle. Just. Not. Fair. 
So, I have a few options: 1) Enjoy the beautiful sunny weather that can only be interpreted as a Peace Offering, a Booby Prize of sorts, and take my kids to the park and watch them frolic. Or B) mope around until bedtime, take a hot bath while reading a fantastic book club book and drown the sorrows in ice cream. Or wine. Or both.
Because the calories don’t count, remember?
Perhaps I’ll do a little of both. I can acknowledge the dread of the season while not giving it the satisfaction of knowing that it has me down for the count. I’ve got 27 more attempts at turning around my expectations. 
Visit me elsewhere:

© 2017 Michele Minehart

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑