February 28, 2015

SOL 1: Calling Dibs

My family does this thing...

It sounds terribly morbid and disrespectful when I put it in writing, but I promise no one in my family is offended by it.

When someone (especially an elder) in our family gets something cool, we all race to call "dibs" on it, meaning we're staking our claim to said item once that person dies.

I know! I know!

But really, everyone thinks it's hilarious. My grandma had this old reclining chair for like 30 years that my brother loved. He wanted dibs on it so badly that he literally put his name on a sticky note, and stuck it to the back of the chair, where it stayed for many, many years.

Ironically, he didn't take that chair when she passed away. I'm not sure what happened to it.

I bring this up is because my parents have spent the past year remodeling their kitchen, all because my mom wanted a beverage bar. She needed a place to house all her drinky things.... Keurig, blender, electric tea kettle, containers of loose tea, k-cups, liquor bottles, mugs, wine glasses, and, of course, her wine fridge.

As I'm writing this, I'm realizing that she could open a drink bar for the whole neighborhood with the amount of options she keeps in her house. She would make a lot of friends that way, for sure!

Anyway, mom's custom beverage bar finally arrived this weekend, and it's beautiful! I haven't seen it in person yet, but my mom posted pictures on Facebook. I have to share the conversation that followed because it demonstrates this whole dibs thing better than I can explain:

Me: I love it! It's even better than I imagined. I'm calling dibs now! You hear that, Amy and Scott?!

Scott (brother): Nope. You don't get dibs. I live here. I get first call, and it's mine when they go. I helped get it in the house and set up. 

Me: Too late! I as first. I'll solidify it by writing my name on a sticky note next time I'm there! ;)

Scott: Nope. You get no call in this. I put in work for it.

Amy (sister): Wow, I love it! [Clearly, she's not interested in this cabinet.]

Ellen (cousin): Erin, I think the favorite niece should have first dibs...

Me: Ellen, that's how I feel about your mom's pink ring! [My Aunt Linda has a BEAUTIFUL ring I've been eyeing for YEARS.]

Ellen: You can have it. I want the cabinet!

Me: I think we can make a deal!

Ellen: I guess I better tell mom I traded her ring for a cabinet. I'm not sure who that ring is intended for... maybe Shannon [her oldest daughter]. LOL I guess I need to tell her too.

Me: Shannon can call dibs on the ring when I die!

Shannon: I don't even know what ring you're talking about, so you can have it, Erin!

Me: This is like the best day ever!

Ellen: Now we have to get your mom to agree.

Me: And yours!

Mom: I think whoever takes the best care of me when I get dementia gets the cabinet.

Me: But Amy doesn't even want it. She's not even calling dibs!

Now I'm sitting here wondering if maybe my Aunt Linda already intends to leave me her pink ring. No one else is claiming it or knows who's getting it. And I have been telling her how much I love it for years!

Did I just offer up my mom's cabinet for a ring I'm already destined to get?

I may need to re-visit this agreement!

Things are Changing

I know it's been a million bajillion years since I've blogged, but that's about to change big time because I have committed to participating in this year's Slice of Life Challenge with my girl Michelle from Big Time Literacy. This means, for the next 31 days, I will be sharing a story from my life, whether that be something that happened today or something from my past (because, let's face it, my days aren't always blog-worthy... and if yours are, I'm super jealous!).

I'm especially interested in participating in this challenge because although I love learning new teaching tips from the many, many blogs I follow, I've realized that the parts I enjoy most are often when people share things from their personal lives.

Also, Michelle pointed out that as an ELA teacher, I should commit myself to doing this type of writing on a consistent basis because its what I ask of my students. There she goes being all instructional coach-y on me... and she's totally right!

It's going to be a challenge, for sure, but I'm feeling pretty committed to this. I have a couple ideas sitting in my draft folder for the days when I get writer's block, so I'm hoping I'll be successful.

So... take this as your advance warning. You may want to bookmark my site or you may want to hide it now because I'm coming back with a vengeance (okay, not really, but I love that phrase)! ;)

If you, too, want to participate in this writing challenge, you can check out the FAQ here and sign up here. I'm told there are some great prizes for those that participate all 31 days... and I sure do like to win things! And if I don't win, I think I'll treat myself to something nice like a manicure for completing it anyway! I respond well to extrinsic rewards. ;) Michelle, maybe we should do that together?!

February 2, 2015

Saying Goodbye

I know yesterday was, as Bone Thugs-N-Harmony said the "1st of Tha Month," which means Farley has a new Currently, and I should be playing along. 

But instead, I want to share with you all a profoundly emotional experience I had today. 

I saw my grandma this morning. 

In my dream. 

Only it was so real, I swear it actually happened. 

My grandma passed away two years ago this month at age 88. She had a massive stroke, which ultimately left her unresponsive. 

I was living in Baton Rouge at the time with very limited funds and only one sick day left in my account. I couldn't make the trip back to Chicago to say my final goodbye. 

And I'm mostly okay with that because I don't like thinking about my grandma all helpless in a hospital bed, not able to talk to me or give me a hug. Because those are the things I loved about her. 

But since she died, I've been holding on to some resentment. I know that might sound awful, but hear me out...

When my grandpa died (In 1992), I knew he was still with us. I would spend the night at my grandma's house, and I could hear him late at night, when grandma and I were both in bed. He would walk through the house, just as he used to, to check that the doors were locked and everything was safe. 

I could literally feel his presence.

And it made me feel safe. I knew he was looking out for us. And I knew he was okay if he was still with us.

So, when grandma died, I waited to feel her. 

I waited. 

And I waited.

But she didn't come. 

Once, I even yelled at her while I was home alone. Where are you? Why won't you show me you're okay? 

But still, grandma didn't come. 

I was very much aware of this longing for the first few months after she passed, but I didn't realize how much it was still a part of me until today.

Until I woke up this morning sobbing.

Grandma came to me in my dream. We had lunch together, at an unknown restaurant, where we sat on the patio in the warm sun. 

She had the friendliest smile on her face as we chatted. 

And she squeezed my hand, just like always.

And I got to hear her laugh again. Oh, how I love her laugh!

I couldn't tell you anything that we discussed, but I do know that I was left with an understanding that this was my chance to see that she's okay and to be reassured that she knows how much I love her.

And I got to hug her one last time.

I didn't want to let go. 
My favorite picture with Grams

I doubt I could ever be ready for that.

My panicked tears started as my dream began to fade, and I realized our meeting would soon end.

I tried to hold her a little tighter. 

Told her I loved her again and again.

And then I woke up and continued to cry for an hour (and then off-and-on all day) as I relieved my dream. 

She finally came to me.

I finally got to say my goodbye.

I didn't even know how much I needed it. 

I hope she visits me again.
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