It's been a minute since I've written here, I realize. I've been spending the time both sitting under clouds and admiring their silver lining.
The first couple of weeks in May are loaded for me. First off, I celebrate my birthday at the beginning of the month, which as I get older is equal parts dark cloud (I'm getting OLD) and silver lining (lucky me - getting old is way better than the alternative!).
But five days after my birthday marks the anniversary of my sister's death, which always puts me in a funky, pensive mood. Inevitably, I replay where I was when the phone rang. The way I questioned the validity of the news, and made my husband call the sheriff to get confirmation, even though the sick pit in my stomach told me I already knew it was true. The rush of regret I felt then, and still feel now.
I think about how she was when I was a little girl, her mannerisms and quirks. How she sounded, smelled, looked, laughed. What she ate, what she wore, the car she drove, where she lived.
And then, how she died, where she was, what she must have been thinking and feeling. Was she afraid? Did she think of me? Uncontrollably slippery slope, I realize, but each year, at least once a year, that's where I am, and that's where I was yesterday.
And then, in the middle of that day and all those thoughts, I saw a picture of my niece. My sister's silver lining. She is hands down the best thing my sister ever did. That girl has gorgeous, strong, colorful wings that flap furiously and take her around the world, and yet she is able to stay grounded. She has seen the darkest of clouds at a young age, and chooses to seek and find and focus on global silver linings instead.
She is the opposite of my sister. She is health and peace and life. I can feel her thankful heart beating all the way from the other side of the world, and seeing her graceful profile in that photograph reinforced for me how grateful I am that she is here.
By just being alive, my niece dulls the pain of my sister being dead. Talk about silver lining. If I could, I would wear that shiny girl like a bracelet.
Speaking of bracelets and birthdays (and let's throw Mother's Day in there too as an uncomfortable transition because, wow, Debbie Downer blogger), the traveling husband frequently says I'm too hard to shop for, because the only jewelry I wear with any regularity are my wedding rings.
I wear my rings all the time. (I only take them off to slather my finger with this weird cream I have to use because apparently I have eczema on my ring finger from washing my hands too often, as moms tend to do when they have kids and stinky, hairy, slobbery puppies. Nothing makes you feel old like a doctor telling you that you have eczema on your finger. Except another doctor telling you that you have eczema in your ears. Really? In my ears? I couldn't wait to tell my husband that it's official, those aren't potato chip crumbs in my ear, I have a real issue. Marriage with me just gets sexier.)
Surprisingly, I have a point.
Which is that I don't need diamonds for Mother's Day (or my birthday). Right now I need the kind of sparkle that only a silver lining can deliver. I would like some hugs and kisses and potentially breakfast in bed. I want to know that I'm loved and appreciated in the form of me not having to cook or clean anything, and I want lots of smiles and attention in the form of me being sent to a spa where a silent masseuse skillfully turns my body into a noodle, and then hands me cucumber water while ushering me into a private room where I can soak in a warm bath.
Keith Urban/Robin Thicke/Bruno Mars (if he were taller) serenading me while this is happening is optional, but it would be a nice touch.
But even if none of those things happen, I'm happy. A bit melancholy, perhaps, but happy. And grateful to have another year with all the people I love.
The eczema can take a hike, but all the rest deserves a big outhale, and so, I think, do I.