I haven’t posted since June when I wrote about my big brother on Father’s Day. I wrote about the loss of his and his wife’s daughter, Sammi Jane. Their only daughter. Their only child. From there I surrendered to my omnipresent and proverbial dark side. Or as my favorite tv guy Dexter would say, “my Dark Passenger”. I have one daughter; one child. What if something happens to her and I am 3.75 hours driving time away … going 85 and treating red lights and stop signs as mere suggestions, not laws. What Ifs can spin out of control and right into Crazy Town… even with doses of anti depressant on board. Then I feel like a giant asshole for even comparing my life to theirs. How dare I even think that- much less say it out loud. And so silence and I became quick friends. Brooding partners in desperation drumming up all sorts of escape plans, play acting through what if scenarios and staying in constant contact with The Girl. Every day on high alert in case Mommy, me, was needed for anything.
Nineteen months ago, The Man and I set out for a great adventure. We moved to his home town, bought a perfect story book bungalow and set out on our new Harley to explore. Within the year we got married, adopted various pets and built his real estate business. I have been trying new things: a waitress, a Junior League girl, a roller derby chick, a property manager, a baker and various other things. The Man said to take a year off… try things I have always wanted to do and enjoy myself. I have tried so many things- but I miss my daughter every single minute. The absence of her in my daily life overshadows any fun or growth I could extract from new experiences. I have tried. Really, really hard. I don’t think I have ever committed to something so huge and stuck with it for so long. I have never purposely moved from day to day with such conviction- knowing every day will just bring more heart-break and loneliness.
He’s lived all over the world and adjusts to uprooting like a pro. I have lived in Austin, Texas since I was five. I have no memory of living any other place for the next 36 years of my life until we moved to Abilene. Until then, I saw The Girl every day for 18 years. My sister, my friends and our friends, were constants in our lives. Some of our friends we haven’t seen since we got married. Over a year ago. I miss them. Austin was always humming along with us and offering all sorts of diversions, shopping and food. Experiences. Creativity. I crave that craziness. I am no good at up-rooting. I am really, really bad at it. And I miss my daughter.
I missed her first big broken heart. I missed her first job interview. And her second. I wasn’t there when her horse Faith, who had all of The Girl’s rodeo dreams saddled to her Palomino back, was declared lame. I wasn’t there when those same dreams had life sprinkled back into them by a generous cowboy who gave The Girl Trooper; a Chocolate Palomino. I haven’t been there for all of the training and love she has given them. And them to her. I missed her first day of college. I was there on every other first day of school and I was front and center for every other first. I can’t stand that I missed the firsts of her adult life. She still loves me, though. Even tells me how proud she is of me for giving love another try after a devastating divorce. For moving away from her and trying a new city. For trying new things and for never once falling in derby practice. She is stronger and better than I am. There is no doubt.
The Man has endured all sorts of craziness from me. If I were him- I would have left me. Sent me packing a long time ago. I don’t feel like me anymore. I only feel like me when I am on my way to Austin- which he makes sure happens pretty much every month. I have gotten out of my car and silently hugged the Austin city limits sign when I roll into home for a visit. I cry every single time when I see it beg me to stay in the rear view mirror on the way back to Abilene. The Austin high travels back to Abilene with me but it is always quickly displaced by Dark Passenger: squeezed out by loneliness, silence and anxiety. The Man has stuck it out with me and for whatever reason he still loves me. I’ve been hard to live with and hard to reason with.
It’s been hard being us.
It’s been hard being me.
Graciously, lovingly, because he wants me to come back to life; we are moving home. It will take time, will be a process but Austin is right there on the horizon.
I can hardly wait.