Sunday, June 19, 2011

Down Home

We were back in my hometown for the weekend, but I'll get to that in a moment.  First things first:

It's Father's Day.  We decided to treat it like Mother's Day and so we basically ignored it.  David said he did such a good job of blocking it that he didn't know why he was getting "Thinking of you" texts from friends this morning.  I bought a card for my dad (first holiday of 2011 that I managed to purchase greeting cards for), which I then forgot to take to him, so it's now sitting on the table with a stamp on it to be mailed belatedly.  I'm not worried about it; I'm sure he understands.

Thanks for raising me right, Dad.  Note:  No babies were actually consuming alcohol in this photo.  At least not that I can remember.

I also got a card for David.  I usually buy funny cards, but this was a Very.Serious.Card.  You know, with lots of writing.  It said something like "We've been though good times and bad times.  And very good times and very bad times."  and then a bunch of stuff about how he's always there for me that he is "a great partner and a caring father."  Couldn't have described him better if I'd written it myself.

Also he is a stud.  Note: I was going to put a shirtless photo of him to illustrate his studliness but he has asked me not to compromise his professional reputation.  Here he's very professionally holding a jar of Puking Pestles in Harry Potter world. 
So as I was saying, we were down home over the weekend, staying with my parents back in Nevada, MO (that's pronounced Ne-VAY-duh).  This is quite the jaunt from St. Louis--over to the other side of the state (just twenty minutes from Kansas!) and down south toward the Ozarks.  It's the sort of place from which spring country songs about the joys of small town life, and also meth labs.  There are things I hate about Nevada, but also things I really love about.

For example:  David stopped in at the local insurance company to visit a good friend of his who works there.  While he was chatting, my friend Monica called to make an inquiry about her insurance policy.  When the receptionist (also wife) of the insurance agent told him Monica was on the phone, David told her to tell Monica that David was there and she'd have to call back later.  Monica was confused, and then cracking up.  The overlapping networks of connections is one of those things that people both love and hate about small towns.

Anyway, although I obviously know a lot of people in Nevada, I didn't advertise this trip.  I felt really conflicted because my grandparents and aunts, uncles, cousins are all there, but I just didn't want to see everybody.  Truth be told, I really didn't want to see anybody.  I didn't want to hurt anyone's feelings, and it's not that I don't love them all.  It's just that I had imagined going home to visit with Eliza and showing her off to everyone and being so happy and I just wasn't ready for the family get-together that didn't include her (last week at the lake with David's family was hard enough).  I wanted an easy weekend, and seeing everyone would not have been so easy.  It would have been fine if they stopped by, but I didn't want to plan a visit or see everybody at once.  So I didn't.  My Nana stopped by briefly on Sunday and I felt guilty for not calling her (perhaps because she said, "You've been here all weekend and didn't call me?  And I'm going to tell your Papa you didn't call him either!")  I do feel bad about that--I said that I'd see him next time and she commented that it had been a really long time since the last time I'd been home.

Uh, yeah.  Because the last time I was home was Thanksgiving weekend.  The weekend of my baby shower.  The week before my baby died.  The last time I was home I was pregnant and happy and excited.  It has taken me over six months to be ready to go back.

The fact is I didn't call anybody except two friends from high school whom I've been in touch frequently since Eliza died.   Right now, my feeling is that if people didn't make an extra effort to reach out to me in the past few months, I am not in a position to be able to make much of an effort from this end.  It's not that I'm holding grudges or hard feelings, and it's not that I don't want to see people.  I just don't have the energy to make plans.  I'm just making choices that are the easiest and simplest and least stressful right now.  And I don't feel bad about it.  This summer is just about surviving.

On the whole, it was a pretty good weekend (even with the guilt trip, I was glad to see Nana and sorry that I didn't get to see Papa).  It was pretty easy.  Although I had pictured having Eliza with us this summer, the stuff we did while we were home was the kind of stuff that I've always done, so it didn't feel like an extra painful reminder that she's not here.  It felt more like revisiting my high school days.  And we made the most of the entertainment that Nevada has to offer:  dinner with friends, swimming, Mexican food, Wal-Marts, the purchase of a cowboy hat for David, and a drive through the local drink barn.

Because what's more convenient than a convenience store?  A drive through drink barn.
Happy's Drink Barn is, as the name suggests, a drive-through barn-shaped liquor store--you pull in, a girl takes your order and gets you whatever alcohol you want from the coolers or shelves, then you pull forward and pay.  It's pretty brilliant.  I won't be surprised if they franchise and you see them everywhere.  Driving through Happy's Drink Barn is not something I'd imagined doing with my infant daughter, so that made it easy.  Not to mention that it's a drive-through liquor store, so what's not to like?

I also painted my mom's dining room while we were home and it turned out really cute.  It's a nice sort of olive-green color.  An improvement over the 20-year-old wallpaper that had been there previously.  It made me feel productive and kept me busy all weekend and it got me in the mood to paint my own house (even though it's somehow more fun to paint other people's houses--am I right?), so I am going to be tackling the master bedroom and living room this summer.

Anyway, it was generally really pleasant weekend and I only cried when David and I managed to headbutt each other by accident in bed in the middle of the night Friday night.  That really hurt.  I swear he was trying to lie on my pillow, but he says I was in his space.  A painful encounter either way.

So the weekend was good.  And now we just keep on figuring out how to survive this summer.  It means some small adjustments in what we do and where we go and whom we see.  We didn't go to Shakespeare in the Park this year because last year when we went I was newly pregnant and so excited and so first-trimester-exhausted that I fell asleep on our blanket during the second half of Hamlet.  I love the Taming of the Shrew, which was showing this year, but I just wasn't ready to go back.  I don't walk the dogs up to the neighborhood park where the baby strollers swarm.  We're not doing baby birthday parties, but I was somewhat relieved to get the invitation and know that we're not being treated like social pariahs, but our friends are understanding when we no-show (in this case we actually have other plans, but I don't think we could go either way).  But we are doing some socializing--I am making an effort to see friends from my program who are moving away to new jobs this fall.  I'm doing Girls' Night again next month.  And then there's the upcoming Canadian vacation (Update on those plans later--I think we will love it though, because, you guys, there is so much more to Canada than riots and heroin addicts.  No matter what the United States news might be reporting.).

So it's summer.  It's not the summer I had imagined.  It's not the way I want things to be.  But we're figuring out how to make it day by day. 

It's Father's Day, and I'm thankful for my dad.  And for Eliza's dad, too.

I'm also kind of thankful for Happy's Drink Barn.


  1. I understand what you mean about not wanting to see everybody... I haven't been home yet either.. and know it's going to be hard, last time I was home, I was pregnant with Kristen.
    Thanks for the plug about Canada... it's funny how out of proportion the media can throw things! Yes it was a riot.. 99% of the population is apalled at the 1% actually involved. Has the news down there reported about the thousand some people who showed up the next morning to clean up??
    Anyway, sending hugs to you and David, even though you're pretty much ignoring the day, you're both loving parents.. and Happy Father's day to your hubby :)

  2. I'm so glad I got to see you Brooke, and I appreciate so much that you made the effort. I'm sure it wasn't an easy trip home and I know before your world turned upside down, we are not people you would have planned on seeing at all. That being said, I'm so glad that in the shitiest of shitiest circumstances, we have become friends. We really enjoyed hanging out and if anything, at least David got a cowboy hat out of the deal! I expect the next blog to be an updated picture of him mowing the lawn in it. Hope he got some 3M glasses to go with it! Thinking of you both today...

  3. It can be so hard going back to somewhere that holds so many memories. Sometimes you just don't want to see people, no matter how much you love them.

    I am intrigued by the drive-through drink barn, though!! You won't find anything like that in Canada!!

  4. I still find it hard to make phone calls. That has been one huge shift for me. So don't worry too much. The important people will understand. And if they don't, then too bad for them.
    You're so right - it is all about survival now, so you do whatever you need to do.

  5. Thinking of you.

    It's weird how that stuff lingers. We are going on vacation in a couple weeks to this family resort in Steelville that we've gone to since I was little with extended family. The last time we went I was pregnant with Olivia, near the end of the first trimester and feeling very safe. The whole time we kept talking about having a baby for next year...last year we didn't go, the prospect of it was overwhelming, and this year, we are going, with a baby, but not how we imagined, and it's thrown me off. But, that stuff does get easier, too. For now, just survive.

  6. YES to so much of this.

    Especially the part about Canada not being all about the drugs and riots ;). We also like our canoes, just ask Brandy and Molly. ha

    BTW, this drive-through booze barn sounds like it could be a HUGE hit- who wouldn't LOVE that?

  7. Yes yes to so much of this. Going home and not having the energy to go around and see everyone. Reminder reminders everywhere. I like the line where you say you do things that are easy and convenient. So true and yet a more positive way of putting it than how I would. Here's to a peaceful summer~

  8. Going home can be really hard, and sometimes the people you love can be hardest to see - there's that pressure to make them feel better, and the pain of seeing their pain for you, too. I'm glad you went easy on yourself this trip.

    And I'm a little jealous of the visit to the drink barn.