We tumbled into the Snarfler and rode, on a very wet day (6/29), to the coast. Because it’s a 45 minute drive. If you’ve lived landlocked, you understand: Go to the beach because you can.
There are 3 friends in the other room, I can hear their laughter through two closed doors. I can feel their joy and their love, too. This Summer marks their 13th, 17th and 15th Years of Existence, they’re working diligently to make it count, together. With lots of talking, which inevitably results in bouts of raucous laughter. In my mind, I can see their faces, contorted in ecstatic spasm as they gasp for breath.
Last night, this show was mostly on-the-road and about-town; tonight’s is joyfully at home. This is far more amazing than anyone warned me 🙂
It’s been a long and sudden 10 years since Mitch’s Death. Luckily, we quickly adopted a tradition of celebration and memory to mark each year’s passing. We’ve done Disneyland and Gigglebee’s and Chuck E. Cheese and movies and laughter… This year Hayden and I marked the day, first, with sushi
Where Hayden reenacted his first hickey experience
and I snapped his picture, over and over
until I finally caught him smiling ♥
We later celebrated with Mitch Soup and lots of stories for our good friends ♥
We are both really looking forward to Disneyland, soon!
The time is upon us, as it always happens, to begin the rituals that bring us joy in the darkness.
Our cycle of memorial begins each year with Thanksgiving. It was 10 years ago we celebrated Mitch’s last Thanksgiving with his mother visiting from Cali. Loud laughter, that’s what I really remember because that’s what people heard when we were around. Joy overflowed and washed away our thoughts of possible futures, keeping us firmly in our Very Happy Right Now.
As was the Way of Mitch ♥ This holiday has since been one filled with a deep desire to celebrate and an equally deep desire to hide from any and all thought of it.
This year we’re celebrating with a few of those who understand my conundrum, with those who perhaps find themselves in one quite similar to my own. A place where laughter and tears shall flow as freely as the hugs and conversations. I want to start the Signing of the Tablecloth tradition; I want to light a candle for those we can no longer see with our eyes, only feel with our hearts; I want to leave a place at the table, ready for that unexpected Thanksgiving Guest to feel most welcome. And then I shall go home and cry and nap.
Then, I find it’s worthy to pick myself up for a drive through the Pepsi Christmas Light Display!! My most favorite kitschy Christmas thing to do in Corvallis. I shall go often and gleefully!
On Friday, there is the Downtown Holiday Parade. For which I shall dress warmly, bring a thermos and a blankey and take a gazillion pictures. Elvis just might show up again!
Mitch died on the First Sunday of Advent and you shall find me at the Catholic Mass that day; possibly giggling through my tears. We joked that Mitch waited for the church to be decorated with all it’s holyday finery before holding his funeral in the otherwise unadorned sanctuary.
I may consider raising our tree on this day, though we’ve traditionally waited until Mitch’s actual Death Day, December 3.
Disneyland is calling ♥ I love, love, love to celebrate Mitch at Disneyland. It was one big trip he wanted to take with the kids, to share a bit of his joyful childhood with them. Instead, it’s the refuge we seek in mourning him, in remembering him.
(we shall heed this call soon enough, we’ve many things worthy of a Disneyland celebration in our lives ♥)
This year, as the 10th Anniversary of Mitch’s Death, I’m looking for something Mitch-in-Oregon to inspire new heartfelt tradition. Whatever else, I hope the day includes some skee-ball & beer, laughter & children, and the ever important: Cake.
And adorning of the tree! I love adorning the tree! Our Angel Eeyore shall be placed in honor of Mitch, atop the tree. (Purchased on the above photographed trip to Disneyland) And the new ornaments I want to get to celebrate our 10 most Amazing years Since and Because of Mitch ♥
This season also marks the beginning of a New Moon circle of Women. I am eternally grateful to begin this ritual in step with the potential overwhelm of holyday rituals.
All the while, in the in between moments, I shall be creating the gifts we are exchanging this year.
For me, the real beginning of what is commonly called The Christmas Season is our Solstice Spiral tradition. On December 21, the longest dark of the year, I welcome you to join with me in Renewing Your Light & Ringing the Bells to Welcome Back the Sun ♥
I love to deliver little gifts on this night, thinking historically how these wee bits of joy would bring lightness to those who felt the dip in spirits that accompanies the dark time of the wheel. This is why I give gifts at all, actually.
I do the full-on Christmas decorating, a big ol’ tree, lots of lights, cheesy santas everywhere you look! I love all that is joyful and happy about ANY holiday, especially one that covers such a large part of the American Calendar. ANY excuse for people to look upon one another with an extra bit of kindness and compassion (me included!) is a good and wonderful thing in My World ♥
Pajamas have now become a Christmas Eve gift tradition. So we all look cute with our stockings the next day. Santa’s gifts are under the tree on Christmas Morn & the stockings have a stash of chocolate buried inside. Most Christmas Days are low-key, hang-out affairs. I’m thinking a ginomous feast is in order this year and shall be taking steps to see it happen. I love how life works that way ♥
I keep the trees and decorations up & the music playing as long as the people in my life will let me! Most often, I make it until January 6, the Day of Epiphany (those who want to keep Christ in Christmas? Gift exchange in the name of Jesus comes from the traditional gifts presented by the Magi, in January, FYI) the official ending of the Christmas Season in Diana’s World ♥
Lost Creek Beach, specifically. Hayden and Eli took the Rabbit Hole. Neither look very happy about it.
I don’t think he believed me when I warned him how cold it is. Even out of the wind in Underland.
Even Hayden was tempted into the beautiful sunlight by the view
…the view Eli had to capture for himself.
I’s so happy to have my E-i ♥
And then he got caught, and it reminded me of that one time when he pretended to be stuck and he called for help. I was delayed by looking for my camera. He reposed for that picture, so he reposed for this one, too!
Meanwhile, Hayden showed off his Underland prowess by running ahead
Back on the beach, I collected all kinds of cool stuff & took their pictures. Here’s one of the many situations I came up with.
While Hayden made sand sculpture & Eli watched us (the beach does that to people… inspires quiet watching…)
No trek to the beach is complete without a stop at the South Beach Fish Co & a kiss with their fish!
Let’s go again, SOON!
A quick peek at the four of us, just before Hayden joined us on the outside (12 years ago!)
[Rubbing burn ointment on his radiation burns. “Owie Daddy?”]
The boy agreed to go to the fair! AND he joyfully checked out the goats with me! Oh I have a goat dream. And a cow dream. And the chickens! Alas, not today…
We both love going to the fair. Okay, truth be told, and he did tell me this, he loves the fair because the fair makes me happy ♥ He’s there for the rides.
Even braving the Ferris Wheel.
Confronting his incredible fear of heights; calmly and quietly. Sometimes making snide comments about those who were not handling it so well.
Then he’d breathe some more, with his hands firmly clasped around the center pole thingiemadoodle.
I find myself a fan of the calmer rides, not minding the heights so much, while Hayden thinks he prefers a good spin, closer to the ground. Lucky for him, most of the rides available are a chiropractic emergency waiting to happen! Lucky for me, the Spider is a pretty happy compromise (in the absence of a Tilt-O-Whirl). Hayden didn’t like this one so much. He was unprepared for the Big Spins & I am no longer big enough to counter them by myself.
So we decided to stick with what we know: The Scrambler: no surprises, same ride every time. Except when mom points out to the dude one of the cars that needs folks rearranged and in gratitude he gives us an extra long ride in which mom is alternately smashed against you or doing her weakling best to pull herself away while giggling at the absurdity of it all, which means she’s probably trying not to pee, too. I thought I might barf when it was finally over. Good thing I took a picture before the ride!
Determined to get to as many rides as were available, Hayden went on the bumpercars next. Without me. I had no desire to get whipped around after my well-done Scrambling.
This spinning thing, no temptation for me a’tall, no-siree, uh-uh, no way in hell. Hayden, on the other hand, lives for this fair ride. Ever since that one guy let him on 1,000 times in a row when he was still 3 inches too short for their rules, this has been The Ride of Any Fair Any Where Any Time: The Galaxy 2000 (Same ride by any other name, spins as sweet)
When Hayden encountered the old-fashioned, open-air version of this ride, he unequivocally refused to ride.
Citing it as completely unsafe.
He’s probably right.
We finished off our ride extravaganza with the Ride Formerly Known as The Himalaya. Big round and round, hilly ride, loud music, and a backwards trip to finish us off. Another squish mom into the kid ride. Seen here from the Ferris Wheel. Along with pretty much the entirety of the Benton County Midway Rides. The tent at the top center is where the Guess Who was playing.
I love this shot of me on the Ferris Wheel, with our beautiful mountains
I managed to get a carmel apple, cotton candy and a big ol’ talk-about-cows before we left for the night! Life is Good!!
I’m the mom who, right this minute, is delaying her travel plans to give her son more time with his very bestest friend who lives 22 hours from home.
… has another visit, with another friend, built into the travel plans. Still.
… loves to talk about how to incorporate Hayden’s gaming desires into our family’s budget. With Hayden.
… loves making those desires a reality & seeing her son’s heart swell with a deep feeling of being worthy.
… allowed her 9.5 year old daughter to make her OWN choices in an acute medical situation.
… knows in her heart that her offspring have more to teach HER than she could ever imagine teaching them.
… works long & hard on her own inherited baggage, so one cycle is ended and another, healthier one, begins.
… isn’t afraid to make light of the darkest moments in life. No matter how *inappropriate* she may be deemed.
… never wants to be viewed as a hypocrite, so she errs on the side of TMI.
… has faith bigger than circumstance.
… loves deeply in ways heretofore unthought of.
… thinks a good ol fart joke (or a loud fart) makes the world a funnier place to be.
… still struggles daily with her deep desire to have her daughter back and for these 4.5 years to have been a dream.
… realizes she wouldn’t be who she is without everything that has happened; so she begrudges herself nothing & shines without regret.