When the twins were in kindergarten, I asked one of them how she didn't cry missing me all day.
I was totally joking, but she said, "I just take a deep breath and say it's not going to happen."
I was stunned. I can't believe that she actually had a day when she missed me so much she almost cried. Well, that was touching. I gave her a big hug and told her, "That a girl!"
My dad used to call almost every day.
He would start the conversation with a song. More often than not, that song would be Stevie Wonder's "I just called to say I love you." So cheesy, I know, but it would immediately put a smile on my face.
"Hey Dad, what's up?"
It's been nearly six years since I've gotten that phone call and I wish the last voicemail saved on my phone was one of the songs and not the message informing me that the cancer was back.
Anyway, we get on with things, don't we?
I always say it's not good to linger on the things that rob us of joy. Thinking of all of our great times is wonderful but when I start to feel sad, I try to switch gears. He always said it's not good to live in the past.
I'm busy enough with the kids that most days it's easy to live in the now. I was recently asked what I was doing a year from now, for planning purposes. I'm not entirely sure what day it is, nor do I plan more than a week in advance. It's like when the dentist asks me if a certain date six months from now works. Sure! You'll send me a reminder right?
My mind is a grocery list of the tasks that need to get done today, while processing everything that is currently happening and everything the kids said and did ... on top of thinking about what my dog would say if he could talk.
Every now and then I take a personal day to linger. It may end with me taking my driver to the cemetery.
Today is not that day. I've got too much to do.
I walk through the sliding doors of the grocery store on a mission. Just as I pass the threshold I hear the radio start to play "I just called to say ..."
I feel myself getting sad, but I take a deep breath and say "It's not going to happen."
Thanks for the shout out, Dad. I love you, too, but we're completely out of milk so, I must carry on. Grocery shopping takes so much energy.
Jen Reekie was born and raised in Quincy and received a communications degree at the University of Kansas, which has come in quite handy as she communicates every day with four children who don't hear a word she says. This stay-at-home mom enjoys the challenge, though, and shares her experiences in this blog, "Mum's the Word." She welcomes your feedback, questions and stories about staying sane while raising kids.