As I was updating my website, adding my latest releases (you’ve checked them out, riiiiiight??), I realized holy crap, I haven’t blogged since January!
This is significant; March marked five years since my son’s death, and I’ve blogged on that anniversary every year since, until now. I fully expected to feel the need to write about it as five years seemed like it was supposed to be an important milestone.
Turns out, it wasn’t. It was just another anniversary I wish I didn’t have to acknowledge. Whether it’s five years or seven or twenty; it will always be a sucky day on the calendar.
And I didn’t blog about it this year.
I went about my day, visited his grave, had my usual cry, and instead of blogging about it, I added words to whichever book I was working on at the time.
The significance, I think, was that I had the ability to lose myself in my make-believe worlds instead of wallowing in my real world. Not that I think I wallow. That’s not the right word. Simmer? Reel? Stumble about?
I don’t know how to say it (I suppose there is poetic justice there, eh?), however, my point is, I was okay on that day. So I didn’t blog.
And then life, as it tends to do, has carried on. We’ve reached the point of this pandemic where we are straining toward some semblance of what I call ‘old world normal,’ while still hesitating because the virus is still real and people are still dying at higher rates than what should be considered acceptable.
I’m balancing writing with actually doing “things” on the weekends again. Not nearly the balancing act I had to manage before March, 2020, but there are more and more days where I think to myself, “I know I’ll have fun but I really want to stay home and write.”
It’s the writer’s dilemma.
The good news is I did not overbook myself this year, so if I don’t get a great many words in on one particular weekend, it’s okay.
One cool thing that occurred since the last time I blogged, and is the reason I sat down to the keyboard this morning, is we went on a vacation. My husband, daughter, and I.
Since the second year of our marriage (which is about to hit 22 years in June), my little family has spent our annual spring breaks traveling between Michigan and Louisiana to visit friends and family. My father and niece and nephew lived in Louisiana, my best friend lived in Texas, and another set of dear friends lived in Alabama. One year, in fact, we made the rounds of all three.
For the record, that’s an insane amount of driving over the course of a single week, especially with kids in the car. And during a time of year when, in the south, there is always, always bad weather, and whether it’s a tornado or ice storm is a crap shoot. Either way, it’s no picnic to drive through.
Fast-forward to four years ago and my father has now moved back to Michigan to be closer to his family. The friends in Alabama have moved closer too. My niece and nephew are still in Louisiana however are nearly adults and generally don’t have a great deal of time for us during our spring break visits, since our spring break and theirs don’t coincide.
My best friend is still in Dallas, so the first year after my dad moved home, my daughter and I flew down and spent the week with her, which is in the record books as one of my most favorite vacations, naturally.
The year after that, my husband was downsized and forced to make a career change and we decided not to spend the money to take a full spring break, so we spent three days in Cincinnati instead. It’s a short trip from where we live, lodging is not expensive, and they have a wonderful zoo and golf courses and restaurants right on the river.
Then came 2020 and of course all plans were cancelled.
As 2020 rolled to a close, we were still uncertain about what we’d do regarding travel the next year. And then a friend suggested we join them on their vacation to North Myrtle Beach in South Carolina, a place I had never been before. (Which is weird, for the record, because, as I’ve learned since, South Carolina rivals Florida regarding the number of Michiganders who vacation there.)
We’d have our own room, we’d be on the ocean; easy enough to social distance and still enjoy a week at the beach.
I. Was. So. In.
Not only was I in because I could wake up to the sound of the ocean lapping at the beach every morning and because I could walk on the beach every day and because day drinking was expected and because I wouldn’t be confined to the four walls of my own home, which are all valid enough reasons; I was in because I realized we had never taken a full-on spring break vacation since we’ve been married.
(At this point in the conversation, my husband inevitably points out the trip to Cinci, but that was three days and was a last minute decision because we hadn’t planned any vacation that year. Doesn’t count, in my book.)
So yeah, we went on an actual vacation where you pay for your own lodging and you do touristy stuff and a maid cleans your room.
Oh, and where they have these amazing coffee makers in your room, which is the actual reason for writing this blog post.
On the first morning I woke up in my vacation room with the sounds of the vacation ocean rolling in my ears, I had to figure out how to master what was an intimidating piece of equipment. To the point where, if they had not had instructions with pictures perched on the counter next to it, I might have had to wander downstairs to the lobby to find caffeine.
Luckily, I muddled through, and by the second day of vacation, I was convinced this was the greatest coffee maker on the planet, and come the end of the week, I dreaded leaving it almost as much as I didn’t want to leave the ocean itself.
I posted on social media about this coffee maker. I talked about this coffee maker. I longed for this coffee maker.
And then, flash forward to Mother’s Day, and guess what my husband gave me?
Yep. THE VACATION COFFEE MAKER.
What a fun, unexpected surprise! So this morning I sat here and typed out this post while sipping vacation coffee from one of my many bookish cups, looking forward to all the words I will manage thanks to this wonderful gift.
Oh, and as if that wasn’t enough, my daughter wrote a poem about our many, many trips to Louisiana, and she framed it and presented it to me, which also felt so utterly perfect for this particular Mother’s Day.
So here I am, blogging for the first time in five months, and it’s all happy, cheery, good news!
I think now I should sign off and get to work torturing a few characters. Before I give them a happy ending, of course.