This month of November my husband and I have been living parallel lives.
In our experience, the term “parallel lives” stems from a counseling session Collin and I had a couple of years ago. The therapist really put our living situation into perspective, he explained to us how easy it is to get caught up in schedules, raising children and other life stuff. It felt as though we were taking everything in shifts, the kids, housework, buying groceries… We rarely took any time for ourselves as a couple and it was becoming evident in our relationship. His advice was to revisit our earlier days as a new couple. The days when there weren’t children or shared bills to worry about. When the passion was new and time was bountiful. This allowed us to reconnect on a more personal level. Reminiscing about why we fell in love helped us to see how our love had grown and changed over the years.
The month of November has been rough, Collin has been gone several days at a time two weeks in a row for school related activities. The kids and I have been here, there and everywhere. Last weekend Collin and I crossed paths with each other in Brookings for a few minutes to exchange a hug. He proceeded to go all the way home to Miller that night while the kids and I stayed at my parents for the next two nights. This week is Thanksgiving and it is a given that Collin will be at home with annual commitments. Hans, Gwen and I will be heading back to Grandma and Grandpa’s home in Brookings for a Thanksgiving feast and black Friday shopping. This entire month has been a “parallel living” type of month. I miss my husband when we are apart but I can at least understand that soon enough we will intersect and get some quality time together for the holidays!
When I think of her I remember her smile. I remember beautiful curly red hair, a freckled complexion and her bubbly personality. To you that may sound so cliche to say about someone who has passed away but that is honestly the person she was. Vibrant and loving, she adored animals of all kinds and got along with people of all types. She loved to get lost in a novel and wrote heartbreaking poetry. Her parents loved her more than anything and she had them wrapped around her finger. Her life had tough stuff in it but you wouldn’t know it if you didn’t ask her. She was goofy and curious about everything! She loved to explore, was lucky enough to have traveled out of the country a couple of times in her short life. She loved to drive too, her purple jeep was decked out in feather boas pinned to the ceiling and all kinds of pretty things hanging from the rear view mirror. It makes no difference now that she was reckless and had no fear of speed. She was fun to be with and always on an adventure!
I don’t remember how it happened, but she was my best friend through all of middle school and high school. We bonded over so many things.. animals, books and boys. We spent a lot of time in my home, she loved my parents and our pets as if they were her own. She was a hard worker and put in a lot of hours at Taco Johns. She was so proud of that job and of the friends she had made there.
Things weren’t always great between us, we fought every so often. I was a brat in high school and I let a boy come between us. She was selfless and always put me first but I let her down too many times. I remember how she whispered to me during a senior photo opportunity “lets just pretend we are still friends”. I feel the awkwardness in that photo.
I remember the summer before she died that we had started texting each other. I had worked with a mutual friend and he prompted us to reconnect. She was about to turn 21 and she was so excited! We never got together or really even crossed paths much after high school. She went to college and had all new friends, Facebook had a way of making her appear very happy.
She is always in my heart and on my mind. Life is not fair, she did not deserve to die so young, freshly 21. I always get a hurricane of emotions when her birthday comes around. After she passed away I was reunited with my old group of friends from high school. We piled into my tiny apartment and reminisced, cried and comforted each other. As a group of people we have been inseparable ever since, losing her connected us in a way that I cannot explain. I cannot imagine life without those people who came forward at the darkest hour. For that, I am thankful for having her in my life. She connects us forever no matter where life takes us. She lives on in my memory and will never ever be forgotten.
It is amazing to me how much less exciting a holiday like Halloween can be when I know I won’t be raiding the kids candy buckets after they crash from their sugar high! It has been an annual tradition for Collin and I to sit down on Halloween night, play a fun board game and binge on the candy our children gathered. The fact that the candy from our last parade still sits in the cupboard is quite an accomplishment for me.
I would like to share pictures of last Halloween with you. I loved this costume, it was very well made and fairly inexpensive for it’s quality. I had the opportunity to wear it several times and I think that it fit me well. My daughter Gwen and I were each different versions of Alice from the classic Disney movie Alice in Wonderland. She was the miniature “shrunken” version and I was the “enlarged” version.
This year Gwen went her own way choosing to be a spider ( I don’t have a picture yet), so I was on my own. My husband had recently gotten his Star Trek Captain’s uniform and basically refused to take it off. Inspired, I went on a hunt for a plus size women’s Star Trek science officer uniform. I ordered one on Amazon and it fits great. The quality is awesome, it has held up to be washed and steam pressed.
Here I am in a classic Original Series Star Trek dress uniform and amazing Enterprise leggings. I will most likely wear fleece lined black leggings for trick or treating but the licensed leggings were a fun addition for the day time. Halloween feels different this year, but in the best way possible. I am ready to chase my kids around for hours, trick or treating and at our annual indoor Halloween carnival. I will go proudly with my husband in our matching costumes knowing that I look great on the outside because I feel fantastic on the inside!