Oh, guys. Hello. It’s been awhile, huh? We’ve had kind of a lot going on. When I was at my mom’s last month I wrote a post all about it, but then when I went to add a few pictures Typepad ate the entire very long post and of course I hadn’t saved it anywhere. It’s too bad because it was a really good post. Like, really good. Probably the best post ever written. You’ll just have to trust me on this.
In the meantime, here’s the boiled down version.
Remember how I was pregnant? Not so pregnant any more. Say hello to Emily Jane, the most darling little baby to ever come out of my vagina. Not to say that Hannah isn’t dear and special, but as a little baby? No. No thank you. We all remember what that was like, yes? Or have we blocked it out of memories. It was not fun. I was dreading living through the newborn stage again, but turns out babies are, like, all different? And some of them sleep and don’t cry all the time, and that makes things a lot easier? Who knew!
I can understand now why people say shit like “treasure every moment!” and “they grow up so fast!” I DO feel like she’s growing up so fast. And I actually want her to slow down and stay a baby forever. She is just that sweet. And did I mention the sleeping? And that she does it? I know this is subject to change at any point, so trust me that I am enjoying the HELL out of every night that does not involve waking up every ninety minutes and pacing the bedroom with a screamy infant.
But don’t worry, Hannah is filling the lack-of-sleep void in our lives by deciding to give up naps at two years old. She’s napping right now, which is how I’m typing this, but we’ve had entire weeks go by with nary a nap to be had. And she is not a lady who does well without her naps. I put her to bed at five thirty p.m. last night. FIVE THIRTY. I was actually considering 4pm, but I thought that might be pushing it. It has been challenging, to say the least. A friend of mine had her one-year-old transition from two to one naps over three days. It took Hannah six painful weeks to make that transition, and I thought that was pretty bad. This no-nap thing, however, has been happening on and off since AUGUST. That’s... a lot of months. I don’t even know if I can consider this a transition any more. I think this is just... life? Sometimes I remember the days when I had only one single child and she took a reliable 2-3 hour nap every day and I sort of feel like crying a little bit. But then I just thank Jesus that Emily is such a chill baby, things could be worse, blah blah blah. (And then I put Hannah to bed before the sun goes down and pour myself a large glass of wine.)
Other than the not-napping and the associated sleep-deprived goblin-esque attitude, Hannah is... well, she is two. She is simultaneously the most amazing person I have ever met and a complete terrorist. But she spontaneously hugged me yesterday morning and said “I wuv you mommy!” so I will keep her.
So... we had a baby... my other child decided to stop sleeping... and oh, on top of that we moved. Did I mention that? When I was, oh, nine months or so pregnant our landlord announced that he was selling our house, but don’t worry! Your lease will totally be honored. He mentioned that about twenty times, not to worry because our lease would definitely be honored. That made me do the opposite of not worrying, because, uh, thanks? For confirming that the legally binding document we signed is still valid? And you’re not going to try to evict us illegally? So the last few weeks of my pregnancy I looked at houses pretty much every day and we tried to decide if we should rent or buy, rent or buy, RENT OR BUY. We like it here in Utah very much. More than I expected to, and Joel feels the same way. But do we want to live here forever? Enough to buy a house? Enough to buy a house RIGHT THIS VERY MINUTE? Uh. I don’t know, Jesus Christ, I’m nine months pregnant and my two year old won’t take naps, I am in no position to be remembering where my keys are, let alone making important financial decisions. So I looked at both rentals AND houses for sale, which was a lot of fun. (Not fun. Not fun at all.) All the rentals were total fucking dumps -- like, I’m talking places that looked like they might actually house meth labs -- and yet cost an awful lot of money. At the very end we found a place that was actually gorgeous, in a wonderful location, and the same price as the run-down dump I’d looked at the day before... and then the guy mentioned that he was thinking of selling it the next year. Aaaaaaand no thank you. I would rather this moving thing NOT be a Christmas tradition three years in a row. So we placed an offer on a very nice house. While we were still in the hospital with newborn Emily. If that sounds insane, let me tell you about how Joel was texting the douchebag agent trying to sell our house WHILE I WAS GIVING BIRTH to tell him no, no you cannot change the time of that showing two hours before it takes place because we’re having a fucking baby right now GO AWAY. Anyway, our offer was accepted. Yay!
And then the day after we got home from the hospital with Emily, my dad called and told me he had cancer. And six weeks later he died. And I don’t really know what to say about that. He died on January 12th. We closed on our house January 15th and moved January 18th. On the 22nd we flew to New Jersey for his memorial service and to spend some time with my family. If you can manage to not have a baby, buy a house, move, lose a parent, and travel cross-country with two small children all in the space of six weeks, I’d strongly recommend doing that.
I... I just can’t believe that he’s gone. Gone. That euphamism we all use. It sounds nicer than “dead”, but truly, he is just... gone. He doesn’t exist any more. That seems so impossible. How can a person go from being a phone call away one minute and not existing on this earth the next? I can’t grasp it. I get these little stabs of reality every day -- when I see this stupid commercial for some local cancer center (the dad in the commercial lives, obviously, and I hate him and his stupid, smiling fake TV grandchildren), when I logged into Skype for the first time on my phone and my list of contacts popped up with him right at the top. When I send my almost-daily picture of Hannah and Emily to my family and don’t type in his email address. He’s gone. He’s not there, not anywhere. He’s just... not. I guess eventually I’ll stop thinking “hey, I should call Daddy and see how he’s doing” and actually reach for my phone for a split second before I remember that he’s dead... and I don’t know if I look forward to the day that I stop forgetting, just for that millisecond, or if I dread it.
In hindsight I feel stupid that I didn’t see this coming, that I didn’t even consider that he could die. People die from cancer. People healthier and younger than my dad, people who didn’t smoke for 50 years, die from cancer every day. Of course it was a possibility. But the tumor he had was supposed to be operable. He was going to have to have twelve tough weeks of chemo, followed by a very unpleasant surgery to remove the four centimeter tumor from his face, and then extensive reconstructive surgery. He was probably going to lose an eye. The more appointments he went to, the more apparent it was that we were dealing with some scary, horrible stuff. But never, not for a second, did I consider that he would not make it.
It was an infection that took him. I talked him on a Wednesday, a few days after he’d started his first round of chemo. He still felt fine. He was saying maybe he’d still go back to Myrtle Beach in between rounds because he felt so good and he was bored in New Jersey. On Saturday my mom emailed to say she’d taken him to the hospital for fluids and pain management, but I still wasn’t overly worried. I actually felt better about him being in the ER, being watched by doctors, than having him alone in his apartment. And on Sunday morning Joel’s phone rang with a number we didn’t recognize, so we ignored it (it was my mom’s cell phone, which she only uses for emergencies and has a weird exchange). But then I checked my phone and saw an email with the subject “911“ sent at 6am and my heart sank. I called my mom back and talked to her. I remember asking if he was going to die. “He already did, honey. But they brought him back,” my mom said. If he made it through the next four hours, and then the next 24 hours, things would look up, they’d told her.
An hour later my brother called. “He’s gone,” was all he could say.
I don’t know who to be angry at. I’m angry at him, for smoking. I’m angry at his doctors for not telling us how serious his cancer was and for not warning us how hard the chemo could be. I’m angry at myself for all the things that seem ridiculous when it’s other people feeling them but very real when it’s you -- for not calling him more often, for not saying I love you more, for not appreciating every day that I lived on this earth and had a father. I’m angry at the world for being set up in a way that people just disappear and there’s no way to get them back, just for a minute. Just to say goodbye.
Everyone’s had the sensation of wanting time to slow down. When vacation seems to fly by too quickly, when a perfect day of beautiful weather starts to ease into night. But I’ve never had this feeling before, where I just want to dig my heels in and stop the earth from turning so that every passing day would stop taking me farther from the time when I had a father. I dreaded turning the calendar to February, and then again to March, because each flip of the page means a new month; a fresh start. I don’t want a fresh start. I want my dad.
This was the last time I saw him, July 2013. I miss him so much.