Today I learned a couple of things I wanted to share.
Apparently I am not the “Just in case” girl that I thought I was. Oh sure, I can pack a “Family Fun Bag” with just about everything necessary for any possibility that could come along. Yeah, I’ve got that whole glorified diaper bag thing down.
But when it comes to being prepared, I found out today I still have a lot to learn.
Today we were going to say goodbye and celebrate the life of a sweet and dear friend. Our first funeral since Mama’s and Miss B’s services in February. I felt like I was emotionally prepared–I knew it would be hard, as her passing has left a huge hole in all of our lives. So I gathered my littles this morning and helped them get ready.
Oh dear. Anyone else’s Mama have them lay their clothes out the night before?
I get it now.
Our life these days doesn’t require a lot of dressing up or coordinating shoes with outfits. (And purses too? Hang it up. That’s why I didn’t carry one today.) In fact we haven’t had to do this since February.
Time has passed, and the children have grown.
As evidenced by the dress that has risen to just above knee level on our Princess. And that the boots she wore then will not even come close to fitting her now. I was lucky Cooter had a pair of khakis that fit–thank you GW Boutique shopping spree in August. Throw on a polo and the loafers he insisted on wearing (“Cooter, you can wear your boots.” “No Mama, it’s a funeral; you have to dress right.”)…..and he was set. Shoes for our Princess was another story. There just weren’t any. Until I pulled out a pair of my shoes that have fit a bit snug…..voila! Okay then. (We will not even discuss that my almost nine-year old’s foot is just about as big as mine.) I found the black dress I wore to my Great Aunt’s service in 2010, threw on a blue sweater over it, and we were ready to go.
And believe it or not, we were NOT late. Despite the bumpy start. And my not being prepared for “just in case.”
It was on our journey that I figured out that our Princess has inherited the “just in case” gene. I usually take a glass of water with me when we leave the house, so when she asked if she could take one, I wasn’t really surprised. The church is only about twenty minutes from the house at most, but whatever–I pick my battles and that wasn’t one of them. When we got to the church, she hopped out of the van with her little crocheted Granny square bag from the Fair two years ago. “Look at what I brought, Mama, inside my little Fair bag. It’s my rain jacket just in case.”
Yes, she said those words. And yes, she really had packed her “in a pack” rain poncho. And no your eyes did not deceive you today–sunny and 75. Not a chance of rain. That girl has a serious sense of “just in case.” (I suppose this would be the time to confess that she was actually the one to remember the dress and pull it out of her closet. Thankful for that.)
I sighed and figured, okay, whatever, we were already walking toward the church. We got to the front door and I realized she had also brought her cup with her. (No I did not notice it before then. I was distracted. Yes, I know they make stuff for that. Working on it.) I was not carrying my usual “big” bag that I could have tucked it in, and the idea of carrying a cup into a church, into a funeral service……ummmm, no I just couldn’t do it. We turned around and headed back to the parking lot where we saw the Fella pulling in from work to join us. Since he was parked closer, he took the bag and cup back to his car. Mission accomplished.
And we still were not late.
Today I’ve learned that I need to keep one dress outfit AND SHOES on hand for each one of us. Just in case. Because I don’t think Princess can get many more wearings out of that dress and I’m pretty sure her foot will outgrow mine in the next few months. Cooter is bound to outgrow those wonderful hand-me-down loafers at some point, though he’s worn them longer than I had expected. And when you’re already sad, shopping is the last thing you want to do, but if you’re not prepared it’s something you have to do. Because, as Cooter said, “It’s a funeral. You have to dress right.”
I’ve learned a lot today. The perfect ending would be that it rained and Princess was deemed to be brilliant. But I’ve learned there are no perfect endings. I’ve learned all over again how much I hate the cancer, and how it chooses some of the best folks to take away from us. It just makes no sense. The hole in our hearts will never be quite the same, and there was no way to be prepared for this loss. Sometimes I wish “Justin Case” were a superhero who, by keeping you prepared, could help you get through any situation without heartbreak or injury or embarrassing moments. He could hang out with Anxiety Girl and keep stressful or sad things from happening or at least from taking us by surprise. Unfortunately, that’s not real life and being prepared “just in case” doesn’t make the hard days any easier. Sure wish it did…..