I have been consciously choosing joy every day, as I said I would. As the two year anniversary of Gavin's death creeps up (in 5 days, 3 hours, 57 minutes and 30 seconds. I'm clearly counting) I am consciously choosing joy. I am.
But sometimes... like now... and yesterday... and the day before... and two seconds ago... my body forgets. It's like a visceral reaction that my mind can't control. My body remembers - and it panics. My heart races. Nausea rises. My throat lumps.
But I still choose joy, dammit.
So I have been consciously choosing busywork, too. I organized our spice cabinet this morning. This afternoon I took apart our pantry (which, if you know us, was no small feat. It is stocked like a fall out shelter) and wiped down every jar, every shelf, every thing.
Yesterday I ran races in the yard with Brian. We went on a treasure hunt. I gave him a little bowl of water to hold the "flowers" he was picking for me.
We laughed as he snorkeled in our master bath and I smiled as I realized that baths will never be the same.
I've been busy following Hope up, down and all around. I've followed her up the "stairway to Heaven"
(she always stops to look at her brother's picture in the foyer)...
...and chased her off the couch, the kitchen chairs, the coffee table, the bookcase and - new to her list of things she's conquered - the dishwasher. None of this is good for my anxiety, but whatever. Hope is better than my "busywork!" Neither my body nor my mind can be still when she's awake!
Staying busy has been helpful. Choosing joy has been essential. But my body still remembers and reacts. It's like a train that I can't stop.
Last week, Ed and I took the kids out of town for an overnight in a hotel. It was good to get out of the house - out of town - out of our heads.
It was an INSTANT success. Brian LOVES hotels. There are elevator buttons to push, snacks, great food, better desserts, movies to rent on the TV - the fun never ends. And it was much easier with Hope now that she's walking! She walked and walked and walked - in the lobby and down the hallway to our room. As soon as we opened the door to our room, the two of them raced around to check it out. The wall of windows was a huge draw.
And the buffet was a highlight at every meal! I'm pretty sure Hope thought she had won the lottery with so many new foods and exciting choices. She even had her very first cookie! It really was her first - I'm not sure why she hasn't had a cookie before this, but it's true!
Brian and I had a cookie, too. And a cupcake. And creme brulee. And a brownie. And...you get the idea. We have a "yes" policy when we stay at hotels. The answer is pretty much yes to anything. It's pretty awesome.
We even stayed up late at watched a movie! Night at the Museum - which we loved.
Our getaway didn't get me away from my feelings. I didn't think it would. My body still remembers and reacts. The memories flood into my mind. Choosing joy isn't always easy...
But choosing joy is always necessary.
Tomorrow I plan to fill you in on the special way I am going to mark the two year anniversary. I have a little anxiety about that, too, as it involves all of you. I hope you'll come back to read about it with an open heart.
Thank you, as always, for loving our little family. And thank you for helping me honor and remember Gavin.