So, I'm not very proud of this but there was a lot of yelling in the Cooper household this morning as we were trying to get ready and out the door to school. I didn't have my usual cheery Morning Mom Mojo working, no doubt because I have a tough time sleeping the first two nights my husband is gone (he commutes to New York during the week) and was really looking forward to that Third Night Coma that I have come to know and love. Only, see, the animals staged some sort of Neediness Relay Race over the course of the night and I didn't get much sleep. I was crabby. My kids were crabby. No one was listening and blah, blah, blah. When we (finally) got into the car, I made everyone take a deep breath and let go of all the stress of the morning and I very carefully and exactly explained how mornings like this make me a lunatic and get my entire day started off on the wrong foot and how tomorrow, no one would be allowed to read until she was dressed, down to her shoes, and had her backpack ready to go.

That went over well.

(As an aside, this is SUCH a lesson in how you should be careful what you wish for. The only thing I really wanted for my children was that they be avid readers. I didn't realize that this would lead to a whole host of rules about when and where reading is appropriate. (And yes, I know some of you are thinking, "Wait, there's a time when reading is inappropriate?" Yes, there is. Walking DOWN THE STAIRS comes to mind.) Anyway.)

So, after I dropped the girls off at school and gave each of them big kisses and hugs and told them I was sorry for yelling and came back home and drank a bunch of coffee and cleaned my house within an inch of its price tag (my house has only been on the market for two weeks and I am so, so SO sick of this already), I was still so down and blue that I got COLD. I almost NEVER get cold and it's usually a sign that I'm getting sick. I took a bath and warmed up physically and then I got my keys and went to Barton Springs Nursery.

Such an incredible Austin treasure. I love that place so much. I shouldn't be spending a bunch of money there, being as how we're moving and all, but when I get sad, there is nothing better for me than my hands in some dirt.

I bought the most spectacular cyclamens. I've never seen anything like them. They are so beautiful that I had a hard time telling how many of them I was buying --they kept trying to push each other out of the flat. I decided that I wanted to spruce up the front of the house a bit more since this weekend we have another Open House. (See note above where I whine about my loathing of this whole process.)

I was standing out in front of my house about to plant them when my neighbor came over and adjusted my perspective with a single sentence.

Tomorrow would have been her son's 18th birthday.

Basically, while I was over here yelling at my kids for reading (how dare they?) and not listening, right next door, hearts are breaking in the most profound way I can even imagine. Breaking all over again. Or still. Or... without hope of ever healing.

This is a kind of pain that I wouldn't wish on the worst human on the planet. This is a hole in your heart the size of the universe. This is watching good, kind, decent, caring parents virtually disappear before your very eyes. This is sadness so raw that it's palpable. This is true tragedy --and nothing you say or do or think or feel can ever change it. It is the worst thing I can fathom.

Kiss your babies if you've got them.

Happy Birthday Jack. We miss you so much.


MadMad said…
Ooooh, that was a good post. I was all set to console you that we yell around here EVERY morning and don't even have a house on the market to blame, and then you go and point out that that's not the point. A good lesson.
And I was all set to expound on the wisdom of fresh, bright flowers for your house when it's on the market....but now I feel shallow. Thanks a lot.
Mrs.Q said…
Wow. Well done. My cranky mood just went out the window. Now I think I'm going to call my Dad. And maybe my sister, while I'm at it.
Ei said…
You are so good for me. Thank you for sharing.

LizzieK8 said…
When I was in third grade my teacher told my mother I should be proud of all the books I read. (Which were numerous, probably 2 or 3 a week.) My mother looked sideways at her and said, "You wouldn't say that if you ever had to get her to do the dishes!"
LaDonna said…
OK, this one hit home. With exactly 7 minutes before the bus came this morning, Paige was still in her pajamas dancing around her room to music on her Zune. I went off the deep end! Sigh! I really must give her pre-teen attitude-ridden self a big hug when she gets home today.

The cyclamens are gorgeous! My hubby bought me a potted one for my birthday last year and right now, it provides such cheery flowers while the outside world is snow covered and barren.