Back to reality

The girls and I arrived home late Saturday night.
When we left Provo (Providenciales International Airport, Turks & Caicos), it was a toasty 90 degree day.
Imagine our surprise to arrive in Raleigh nearly 12 hours later — and 36 degrees.
Our trip home was rather uneventful…if you don’t count missing our connecting flight because the two littlest Lanford ladies had to use the bathroom so badly they were in tears. Being the good mother that I am, I whisked them away to the potty…knowing the flight was about to board…and forgetting that it was the weekend after Thanksgiving and there were TONS of people in line to use the bathroom.
They used he potty.
We ran to the gate.
And the plane had just left.
No worries.
Thankfully, we were redirected to the next flight 30 minutes later.
Which we almost missed, too.
Again – whatever.
We made it home.
That’s all that matters.

Sunday was busy, too, of course.
I tried to catch up on sleep, but the girls were so excited and my plan to sleep in didn’t fare so well.
We had a late lunch and then my dad joined us to go pick up our Christmas tree.

The tree went up.
And then when I was bored after the girls went to bed and I was all by myself, I decided I needed to rearrange to furniture in the living room. The tree always sits in the same spot.
It needs to be different this year. Everything else is different, after all.

I snickered to myself almost deliriously because I so fondly recall Chad telling me multiple times that the couch could only go on one wall…
I moved it.
To the other wall.
And I moved the club chair.
And the tree is in a different spot than usual.

I like it.
It’s different.
And I’m learning to like different.
Or, at least, go with different.

The tree is not decorated yet.
But it’s there.
Kind of like me, I guess.
I’m here. In a different spot. No decorations. Just me.

Carys started complaining that her ear hurt last night.
Great timing – and I actually thought she was making up a fake pain to get out of school.
I had lunch with her at school today, along with Cailyn & Nana, where I learned that it was clearly not a ploy to get out of schoolwork.
Off to the pediatrician — with swimmer’s ear.
The doctor took one look at both girls’ braids and tan and said, “let me guess….you went to the Caribbean last week and did a lot of swimming?”
Um. Yes.
And then the plane ride did number on their little eardrums, too.
They seem to be feeling better already, thank goodness.
Mondays are always fun – especially a vacation-is-over-boo-Monday.

I was unpacking our suitcases this morning and had a little meltdown.
I found Chad’s id card in the smaller suitcase – I hadn’t noticed it before.
He had placed his business card in a small vinyl pocket and placed it in the interior pocket. He had handwritten his cell phone number and name on the back.
I haven’t seen his penmanship in so long that it sucker punched me.
Took my breath way for a few minutes.
And I just stared at it.
Then put it away with other things I’ve found around the house.

I’ve also been trying to put together my holiday shopping list…which is always a chore.
Chad’s name is always at the top, even though he begged me not to buy him gifts.
I always did, though. Something small, at least.
This year, I won’t be venturing to BestBuy or the sporting goods store. Or to NCSU’s campus to buy yet another jacket/shirt/pewter something that he would love.
And that really hurts.

I don’t mind the grief.
I don’t mind being sad.
It’s just the unexpected ways it hits me that I’m unprepared for.

I can pack up his side of the closet and leave it in boxes for later.
I can talk about him with the girls when they ask questions or need reassurance.
I can make phone calls to companies to close accounts in his name.

But I can’t walk by the dairy case at the grocery store and see egg nog without getting choked up because that particular brand was his favorite.
Ditto for produce — those blue and gold boxes of clementines are making their holiday comeback and I had to have them in the house for him at all times. Little stupid oranges without seeds.
I can’t watch our favorite television shows and smile or laugh at them anymore. They’re just not the same when he’s not here to watch with me.
I can’t handle the way the girls are using Chad as a way to guilt me into things – and they are using it a lot. I hate it.
I can’t see Wednesday approaching on the calendar and not think of him leaving nearly three weeks ago.
And I certainly can’t think about last Christmas as our last as a family.

I’m undecided on how to handle Christmas this year.
Part of me wants it to be as normal as possible for the girls (and for me).
And the other part wants to get far, far away…but not quite as far as Turks & Caicos, if you’re wondering.

Day by day.
It will get better.
I don’t think the hurt will ever go away, but I do hope the sting isn’t as numbing after a little time.
I’m told it will get better with time.

We’ll see…

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3 Responses to Back to reality

  1. Carmen says:

    I love your honesty, so raw and tender. You are one of my hero's!

  2. amy says:

    So glad the Lanford Ladies had a great trip.Boo to swimmer's ear. I wish I had something profound to say that would help with Christmas looming ahead, but you are so strong & smart when it comes to handling these things…the best I can say is go with what helps you & the girls. I am by no means I child expert, & I know things take time, but I hope the girls reliaze that by using Chad they are hurting you. Kids are like that, they know what gets to us & they use it when it suits them. Doesn't mean they're bad, I guess just dealing with everything the best way they can. Love ya & still praying for ya!

  3. chris says:

    You are still a family, although he isn't WITH you. you and the girls are…and I know it must be hard, but don't let them guilt you. You know kids. God bless their little hearts, the best thing you can do is be firm. It will make them feel safe.
    hang in there….have a good Christmas.

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