Me Time

February 15th, 2018

I went to a funeral on Monday. One of my oldest friends’ dad’s died. Bud was one of those people everyone in the community knew. In addition to all the middle-school sleepovers, he was a teacher at our public school, and a favorite teacher, for sure.

He was sick, so it wasn’t totally a surprise, but it happened suddenly when it did, and how do you prepare for that? 

I was texting with a friend and complaining in my self-involved, myopic way that I am having a really shitty time right now with twin-mom-hood. The sleep deprivation is so intense, relentless even. It’s been a tough time. Everyone in my family has been taking turns being sick for well over a month. It’s the dead of winter, and we’re always stuck inside. The weather is gloomy, preschool has been positive, but a challenging adjustment for sure. My work has been chronically crazy. I had cramps, and now I was on my way to a funeral that promised to be very sad.

Melissa suggested that I view the funeral as “me time.” After all, I was going by myself, taking the day off work, and trusting Jon to pick up the girls after school.

This made me laugh.

It’s a silver lining of sorts that when you’re a working mom of twin toddlers, you consider a funeral “me time.” After all, I got to spend almost two hours alone in my car, catching up on podcasts. I had time to get tea at McCuskers, the crunchy little co-op I worked at all through high school. I actually stopped for no less than four hot caffeinated beverages that day, if I’m being honest.

And I spent the day with a bunch of my favorite people. Wedged in the pew between two of my oldest friends, I felt a sense of contentment wash over me. On one side, my friend Pandora, who I met in hippie preschool, sang “Amazing Grace” in that beautiful voice I remembering being in awe of in grade school. On the other, Karen, one of my very best friends since high school, who I happen to know also has a beautiful voice, shyly kept quiet like me. 

My tribe

All around me sat those I’ve known for decades. Janice behind me, Rhonda next to her, Gery and Anemone on one side, Amelia, Rianna, and Aldo on the other. In front of us, several of the boys from my graduating class. In front of them, Steph and her family. All holding space for another family we’ve known forever, to celebrate a man we grew up with as a shining father figure, to pay homage to his legacy. 

I found myself smiling several times, and then instantly felt awkward and ashamed. You’re supposed to be somber at church funerals. It was bad enough I was wearing leggings. I never lost the “baby weight” and none of my old clothes fit. It’s been three years; I should probably buy some new clothes.

Later, at the reception, when everyone (except woefully tired me, who can’t handle anything right now) drank mimosas on a Monday afternoon, there was lots of relaxed laughing. This wasn’t the first funeral we were at. It definitely won’t be the last we all attend together, either, that’s for sure. Surely we’ll attend even harder funerals soon enough.

This circle of life stuff is hard, but it sure is excellent when you have a tribe to endure it with.

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