Thursday, March 10, 2011

Run Between the Raindrops

When I was little, on rainy days my Mom would tell me to "run between the raindrops" so I wouldn't get wet. She would remind me every time it rained, and when we got to the car, or when I arrived home, she would always ask me "Did you run between the raindrops?" and "Did you get wet?" I always proudly beamed at my Mom, declaring that I did it, I ran between the raindrops and I didn't get wet. Even as an adult, if I was visiting my mom and leaving in the rain, she would smile and say "Don't forget to run between the raindrops" and I would reply "Of course."

It has been a very rainy week here. During the first bit of rain last week, I stood at the door, preparing to take Micah outside. As I bundled Micah up in his jacket and pulled the hood over his head, I heard my mom's voice echo in my head, chastising me for not taking an umbrella with me. I found myself smiling, and even said out loud, "Don't worry, Mom, I'll run between the raindrops." I stopped cold for a second, frozen, tears welling up in my eyes again, and then I turned to Micah, took his hand, and said, "Come on, Micah, let's run between the raindrops."

I was sure my Mom was grinning down at us as we ran to the car and I buckled Micah into his car seat. I sat down in the front seat, crying (and soaking wet), and I said out loud, "We did it, Mom, we ran between the rain drops and we didn't get wet."

Running between the raindrops is a great metaphor for life...when you are little, you just BELIEVE you have the power to avoid getting wet. Even when you sit there, hair glued to your head and beads of water dripping into your eyes and down your nose, you can still beam and insist that you avoided the raindrops and stayed dry. As we get older, we realize that rain is is getting wet. We can wistfully remember a time when we believed we could avoid the raindrops if we just tried, but we are all too aware that it was never possible to actually run between the raindrops.

This year, I've learned all too well about raindrops...and life's rainshowers have me sitting here, hair glued to my head, clothing soaked, shivering, and beads of water sliding down my face. But this week, I remembered that even as I sit here, soaking wet, it is easy to WANT to believe we can run through the raindrops if we just try. I think that is what I've been doing the past few months...trying to figure out how to run through the raindrops...or at least learn to grin with pride after getting soaked by life.

Things have been hard since my Mom died. I think of her every day, many times a day, and not a day passes that I don't shed tears. A friend of mine renamed her blog "Impersonating Normal" after she lost her son...and I understand that sentiment. I wake up each day, I focus on all the good in my life, and I try to be normal again, even when I don't exactly feel normal. I spend time with my children, I'm working on rebuilding my business, I go out with my friends, and I am trying to create balance in my life and find me again. But I also feel as if I am walking around with this big gaping hole in my chest. I always think that anyone who looks at me must be able to see what has happened to me - as if I have this huge shocking open wound, exposed and bleeding, visible for the world to see.

Some days are better than others. I definitely have more smiles than tears in my life, but it is the little things I find challenging. I miss my mom terribly when I am at the yarn store, trying to decide which yarn to purchase for a project. I find myself reaching for the phone to call her and tell her about the kids' doctors appointments, or the funny things they say and do. I miss my sounding life is much more quiet and insular without my mother in my life. I feel disconnected to the "information train" - I have no idea what is going on anymore with our extended family and friends. My mother always had good tidbits of gossip for me, and I miss the phone ringing all day with random little stories and updates. I wish my Mom could see Micah laughing about the tickle bugs in the couch, or how he loves using FaceTime (she would have thought that was so cool), or Maya's quirky little crawl and how she is pulling up on everything. I miss Thursday night date night, and knowing that she is there to run backup and help out when I realize that DH is going out of town for the weekend and I have no one who can help me take two kids to swim class while he is gone.

I do so many things each day to keep my Mom close. I find myself wearing her perfume - her scent lingering near me feels like a big hug if she has just left my presence. I keep a picture of her in the kitchen, so Micah and Maya can see "Mimi" sitting with them while they eat meals. I teach Micah how to use "Mimi's trick" to put on his jacket, and we laugh about the ticklebugs in Mimi's couch.

There really is so much joy and goodness in my life...I just still wish my mother was here to share in it with me. I'm certain that feeling will never leave me, and I hear the gaping wound heals over and becomes more like a scar that fades with time. I guess only time will tell. In the meantime, I'm going to keep trying to run between the raindrops.

As you can tell, it has been a few months since I have written anything on this blog. I just...well, I just haven't had the heart to write. All these years, I wrote for me...but for 3 years, I knew my mother was reading my blog, sharing in our journey. Somehow, writing words that I know my mother will never read...hurts. Along the way, my blogging and her battle with cancer became entangled, and I associate sitting down to write with those awful days and nights. I think it has been a struggle for me to come back to this computer and face those feelings, and knowing that writing words she will never read is moving on, moving forward again. My life stood still for six months, and the past three have felt like....Oz. I feel as if a tornado came roaring down on me, picked up my house and transported me to some sort of alternate reality Emerald City, surrounded by munchkins. I keep thinking that somewhere else, another version of me must be living my life as it was supposed to be, with my mother healthy and strong and ever-present. If only I could click my heels together three times....

I've been jotting down little things, and maybe now that I finally faced my "demons" and wrote again, I can go back and complete all those updates on our past few months. Micah is now almost 27 months old, and Maya is 8 1/2 months. They are growing up so quickly!

Today, Micah left for preschool with DH in the torrential downpour. I gave Micah a big hug and kiss, and told him to run between the raindrops. He flashed me a huge grin, and said "Run raindrops, Mommy" and waved at me. I felt my heart squeezing in my chest as I saw my little man stomping through the water puddles on his way to the car, grinning from ear to ear. I hope he spends his life believing that he can run through the raindrops.


Anonymous said...

I know your mom is looking down on you and her beautiful grandchildren every day and smiling and sharing all those things with you - even if you can't see her. HUGS

Anonymous said...

Oh hun you made me cry! I could picture you and your mom and the relationship because that is what I have and I can't even imagine the pain you feel because it is one of my biggest fears. Your mom is definitely still "reading" this blog, although she is seeing it from a different angle. It breaks my heart to hear your hurt. But I smiled at your "running through the raindrops" because it's something we did when I was a kid too. What a wonderful thing to be able to pass on and help you to tell stories to your kids when they are older. (((HUGS)))


Cat said...

What a wonderful memory to share with your son. You have and will continue to be in my prayers. I never really knew my mom and she died when I was young but I too find myself thinking which shirt would she pick or wondering what she would think about something so I can imagine losing that sounding board is so very hard.

Anonymous said...

I've been reading your blog for a while now...and happened to check in just as my ipod (on shuffle) started playing One Sweet Day by Mariah Carey & Boyz II Men. Don't think it could've been planned any better. Just keep going and you will find the kids will help you keep moving forward, if for no other reason than they'll make you laugh at their little quirks and each day it'll be more of the laughing and before you know it you'll think of her but smile as you do more than cry when you think of her.

Anonymous said...

I noticed you hadn't been posting in a long while - after being such a steady, prolific blogger - so sad that you've been hurting so much. Such a deep love you share with your mom and family. Big hugs.

Amy said...

Oh Tess, I'm in tears as I read this post. I can so relate with you. I have so many of the same feelings that you have with regards to the loss of your mom. Hugs!! Hang in there mama!