An Empty Chair: Father’s Day and Graduation, 2012

English: Chair

English: Chair (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tomorrow is Father’s Day, it’s also the day that my daughter, my baby, graduates from high school. My father, her grandfather will not be sitting near me, holding my hand, smelling of after shave cologne. His arm won’t be around my mother’s arm, excited to see their granddaughter walk across the stage, beaming, to get her diploma. He died almost died ten years ago, not seeing any of his four grandchildren graduate.

He will be with me, inside, a huge hole in my  heavy heart and in the tears that I will most assuredly shed. I will wipe them up with a “Vienna hanky” the soft, cotton handkerchiefs that my father always had, that my sister and my mother and I shared upon his death. They are thin now, like transparent paper but some have his initials on them and they are very important to us.

My daughter’s graduation should be a joyous occasion but it too brings mixed emotions, as most everything does. An “empty nest” a sign of us aging, her new life just beginning. I try to be as festive as possible for my husband, father of our two children but he is not that caught up with the Father’s Day holiday as much as I am and frankly he has lower expectations. I don’t blame him at all. Mother’s and Father’s Day were adorable when the children were young but at almost 18 and almost 20, something is lacking, like true sentiment. The kids go through the motion with plenty of reminders but that’s about it and that’s all we can expect at this time in their lives. Hopefully, if they have children of their own one day, they may appreciate us more; they will be able to relate.

I am looking forward to tomorrow with a mixture of excitement and dread; I will try to hide the dread as best I can. My daughter and my “second daughter,” our friend Christina, will be graduating from high school and going off to college in August. I have watched these two special girls grow up. Christina and her family have lived across the street from us since the girls were about three or four years old. They played together every day; they went through the monkey phase together, the gymnastic phase, horses phase and plenty of others together. While they both have other friends, I think their friendship will last in the future.

Christina reminds me of a young me, she is innocent and kind and wears her heart openly. I know what she is thinking and feeling by just looking at her face or hearing her voice. I want to protect her and prepare her for life but of course  I know I can’t do either of those things. My own daughter is more street smart, independent and fearless. She hides her feelings, she is very private, harder to read and fiercely independent.  Tomorrow, when their names are called to go up on stage and receive their diplomas, I will clap and scream, for both of these beautiful, strong and smart young women.

Congratulations to Jillian and to Christina!

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The Cranky Defense

It’s early Monday morning and I was woken up by the screech of the buzz saws right below our bedroom window jarring me from sleep straight into a miserable, throbbing headache.  Before I even began my day the hammers pounded in my head along with the screeching of the electric saws in high decibel, extra-loud volume, like the shrieking sounds of an inconsolable child.

I am cranky because the work being done on the house is to fix a big (sic: expensive) problem that meant digging under the house, replacing wood and floor tile. Two square feet of floor tile was replaced and now I have a dark and dismal two- toned, mismatched kitchen floor and I hate it. I think it is symbolic of all that I feel.

I am miserable because neither my husband or I have a job and that scares the hell out of me. Our two teenage children are winding down their school days and will be in summer camp for 8 weeks. I am happy for them but let’s face it being in a house with your beloved spouse, 24/7 is not good even in the best of times. I tug at the collar of my shirt, to indicate present and future hyperventilating; I know he must feel the same way.

I’m cranky about many different things: that we weren’t invited to a barbeque, that we don’t quite fit in with the “in crowd” that we are in a bad place because of the economy. Little things make a difference:  I was looking forward to watching the finale of Survivor with my husband but of course, the second I opened my computer I saw who the winner was. Really? Can they not just wait 24 hours before they plaster the spoiler all over the internet?  As an act of great love and kindness I did not tell my husband who the winner was; he deserves the pleasure of surprise.

I feel ill at ease and at night, before bedtime, I try to think of  jobs to do but that just causes me to get agitated and then I can’t fall asleep. When I finally fall asleep, I sleep restlessly and have nightmares about my mother every single night. I am always angry at her and she is mean and doesn’t seem to care.

The only positive side to my crankiness is that at least I am not eating an excessive amount of food to cheer myself up.  In the past, I would have been at Mr. Donut Man ordering raspberry jelly doughnuts. Oprah and her friends would be so proud.

My health is unchanged, I have no energy and the new drug, Cellcept, used for auto immune diseases hasn’t kicked in yet. I don’t know if it will even help. My guru Dr. keeps telling me to be patient; that’s easy for him to say. He hasn’t had Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and a myriad of other illnesses continuously for the last 3 years.  I am tired of being patient. I am tired of being tired.

I went for a blood test again today  at Quest Labs that hurt as the needle wiggled and skipped to find its way to my bluish-gray vein.I made the mistake of glancing over and seeing the dark red blood filling up tube after tube.  I noticed that their linoleum in the lab was identical to the dreaded beige-brown fiasco that now lives in my kitchen.

I’m lonely. I ache for my father who passed away eight years ago and I miss him, Father’s Day is looming ahead of me like the extended weather forecast for thunderous storm clouds. It’s a lengthy invitation to depression. I think the only place I should  go to is the cemetary where my father is buried. At least there, I am allowed to cry; I am allowed to mourn, and all my pent-up emotions will explode and I will place a perfectly round, white stone on his gravesite and allow myself to grieve.