[about the author]
i actually like speaking in front of large crowds. freakish,
i work crossword puzzles in ink.
i am the american nigella lawson. or maybe the american eddie
izzard. can't decide, really.
i would be a really good mom, but i'm cool with being a really
i am sometimes more perceptive than i would like to be.
i am fiercely loyal. sometimes, stupidly so.
i never play dumb. never.
i am way too hard on myself.
i am a change agent.
i sometimes cross that fine line between assertive and aggressive.
i am not afraid to tell people that i love them.
i am militantly pro-choice.
i am pro-adoption.
i know a little bit about alot of things.
i typically enjoy the company of men more than women.
i am capable of being really mean and nasty, but i fight it.
i am a lifelong cubs fan. do not laugh.
i have been known to hold a grudge.
i have hips.
i am not my sister.
i am lousy at forgiving myself.
i am an indoor kind of gal.
i am a bargain shopper. to the point of obsession.
i am 32 flavors. and then some.
i couldn’t sleep last night. at first, i thought it was because of the stress i’m feeling at work. my boss has been summarily canned, and they’ve brought in a team of consultants. it doesn’t look good for my coworkers and me. we think we have until the end of the year before we’re completely outsourced. between you and me, i think we’re being optimistic.
but, even though work was on my mind, you kept creeping up on me. i couldn’t stop thinking about you. and i think maybe it was really because i was thinking of you that i couldn’t sleep. and that it wasn't work at all. and i was wondering if maybe you couldn’t sleep, too.
i wondered if you could hear me laughing. when i thought about that time you, meg and i got “sick” after our new boss acted like a complete bitch. about how we all left the office and went to your apartment and ate junk food and laid around on the couch and watched chick-flicks and drank and talked about how much we hated her, and how awesome we were.
then, i thought about how we used to go to step class, and how we would lie on the floor in the back during the ab workout and whisper about whether we wanted to go to baskin-robbins or pizza hut after class, and how the instructor gave us the evil eye, but we didn’t care.
then, i thought about that time we got so drunk that we tried to steal that giant trash can by grabbing it and putting it on top of the company car, and how hard we laughed when we tried to make our getaway and it came crashing down, rolling off the back of the car.
and the time that you and runyan came over to watch a scary movie and max was so excited to see you that i had to call the emergency vet clinic and ask them how to make a dog’s “thingie” go back in, and how hard you laughed…not because of poor max’s condition, but because the vet yelled at me for calling it a “thingie” and then hung up on me because i wouldn’t stop laughing when he said “i believe the word is penis.”
and how that guy said that i was "sex on a plate," and we laughed so hard we couldn't breathe because, come on...what does that mean? and then you made that plate for me that just had the word "sex" on it in huge letters. i still have that plate, you know.
and i was hoping that you could hear me laughing, but that my laughing wasn't what was keeping you awake. but i'm sure that wasn't why you couldn't sleep.
and then i noticed a tightness in my chest. and at first i wasn’t sure what it was, but i think it’s a scream. and it’s rattling around inside me, bouncing up against the base of my throat, trying to decide exactly what it is that it wants to say.
i think it wants to say that it’s not fair. that you’re too young. that you have a wonderful and kind husband. that you have a beautiful and amazing little boy. that you’ve been so strong for your father and your brothers since your mom died, taking such good care of everyone. that it makes me angry that cancer took your mom before she had a chance to see trent come into this world and to see what an awesome mom you are. that it’s indescribably wrong that she’s not here for you now. to help her young, beautiful, phenomenal daughter fight cancer herself.
and then i was thinking that today, right in the middle of the day, i’m going to go outside and i’m going to think really hard about sending some clouds to you. not the rain cloud kind. i’m talking about big, fluffy clouds. mostly white, but maybe just a little pink. or maybe even sort of iridescent, like abalone, so they'll change color when the sun glints off of them. and they’ll be shaped like animals. or maybe like a marching band. and you can hold trent up and say, “trent, i know you’re too young to know what ducks are, but look at that cloud! it’s shaped just like a big pink duck!”
and you’ll know that i’m thinking of you. every minute of every day.
and a few years from now, when you and trent are sitting outside on a bright autumn day just like today, talking about whatever moms and sons talk about, he’ll say, “mom, remember that time we saw that cloud shaped like a big pink duck?”
and you’ll say, “i do. and there was a hippo, too.”
and trent will look at you with a puzzled look on his face, and he’ll say, “weren’t you sick then?”
“i was, sweetie. i was very sick. but, i’m just fine now.”
and you’ll pull him tight against you and hold him close, smelling his hair and kissing his forehead before he gets too old to appreciate just how wonderful that is.
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