A life well lived

I work weekends and most weekdays at a day job; my days off being Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Which means much of the family time at home is put upon Jesse’s shoulders. In between shuttling Nate to play practice and keeping the other two alive, he took down the Christmas tree and set it outside. I had a pretty long day at work yesterday, followed by a social commitment (read: party) for a couple hours. I got home at 9:30, utterly exhausted and ready for bed.

This morning, we again woke up like being shot out of a cannon. The boys had to play chimes for the church service, and Nate needed cookies for his play today. Jesse was the last one out of bed, and by the time he was downstairs and ready, the others had to rush off to church with him. My house looked like Beirut…cookie sheets with tater tots from a few days ago strewn about, the garbage can in the living room (not collecting much garbage), and all of those Christmas ornaments, while off the tree, were just sitting there on my couch waiting to be wrapped and put away.

I could have lost it, and probably started to. To top it all off, I realized that we were out of butter and I didn’t have time to run to the store and get some so I could make Nate’s cookies. Store bought for him and his thespian friends today. Guilty mama, reporting for duty. Like I said, I could have lost it.

But my thoughts turn to my favorite aunt in Philadelphia. A fun and vivacious lady, who never lets a little guilt get in the way of getting things done. A lady that knows what’s important in life and has no qualms about telling me how things are supposed to be. She has been in the hospital since Thanksgiving, and my dad (her brother) is out there right now. I’ve heard hospice has been called, which I don’t know how to process. She’s only 74. Her mind is still sharp, and up until this episode, her sense of humor was too. I don’t want to believe this is the end. If she knew about my morning, she would tell me to suck it up, not complain about things, and just be happy I have a husband who takes care of things while I work and kids that are happy and healthy. And she’d probably tell me these things with a few f-bombs littered throughout her advice.

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My aunt, cousin, grandmother, and a 16 year-old me in the summer of 1995.

She has always encouraged my writing, though I don’t know how much of it she’s seen. She was in real estate until her retirement, and once she took me to a beautiful home she had listed, up to a turreted office and said, “You could write a lot of poetry in here, Jessica.” She knows I’ve been working on a novel, and asks me whenever I talk to her how it’s going and what it’s about, again. I love her for that. I’m toying with the idea of letting her read my second draft, which is still a work in-progress. If I do, she’d be the only member of my family to see it. I want her to see what I do with my time though, and I think that would make me get over my self-consciousness about the story.

I don’t know how dire things are, and I’m waiting for a report back from my dad. Whether she’s here for another week or another decade, one thing is for sure: she’s someone who knows what’s important in life, and I am better for her being in mine.

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