Nine Out of Ten

Here’s the thing: I haven’t posted every day here, not like I used to post.  In the beginning I had a rule and that was that I would make sure that there were posts here Monday through Friday, something written each night before.  So Sunday night through Thursday night I’d write and set up through my software that the site would automatically post the next morning.

I started writing every day, too, because the silence bothered me.  I’d write because something would happen: a child would have a meltdown or the school would call or what have you, and I would not have that other person to voice my concern to that evening.  The thing is, though, nine times out of ten my thoughts were correct and my wife, Andrea, would simply confirm my choices.  It was when that 10th time hit that I was always concerned and worried.  That 10th time she caught the mistake or failure and stopped it before it happened.  I wanted to avoid that.  I felt like, in the beginning, I couldn’t afford to fail.  When Andrea passed away there were four kids looking at me for guidance…and a number of people looking at me like I was doomed to failure.  Sure, the odds seemed stacked, by cultural propensity, against me.  What those people didn’t know was that so much of our daily lives was handled by my hand already.

I say that not out of pride, it was necessity.  Andrea was sick, tired, sore, all of that.  Her knees were shot and she couldn’t move.  She was just starting to come back to me when she passed away.

Silence, you see, was the dirge I listened to at night and it overtook my senses.  So in a sense, I used writing as a surrogate to remove the worry about hitting that 10th time out of 10.

I was scared.

I was lonely.

I will be honest, I didn’t think I’d know what to do.

Lots of people looked at my oldest daughter, Abbi, and told her how much she’d have to do.  They informed her she’d be taking on more responsibility; in essence, they told her she’d become the surrogate Mom to the other three kids.  I was determined to make sure that did not happen.  She was sixteen.  I wanted her to remain sixteen.  Sure, there were a lot of things she had to do  and take on and I wish she hadn’t but they happened.

But let’s put reality on the table: Abbi doesn’t cook dinner.  She doesn’t do the laundry – except her own, many times.  She does help clean, but that’s part of the chores for all the kids.  She didn’t sew up the sock monkey or stuffed dog when their legs threw stitches.  I did that.  She says how much responsibility she took on, and I did rely on her more . . . but she wasn’t taking on that awful much.  At the end of the day, gladly, I shouldered that.

So what does all that have to do with my not posting here every day?

I posted each day as a necessity.  It kept me going.  It kept me sane.  It told the world that I was trying my hardest and though I hit that 10th time out of 10 more often than I wanted it didn’t kill us.  We didn’t fail, it just made us go off the road a little bit.  The thing about that is if you can go off and keep the car upright…you can get back on the road.

I got to about the 1 1/2 year mark after Andrea passed away and I came to realize my fear of the unknown and the worry that I might fail had melted away.

You can tell in the posts . . . things move from grief and panic to quite content.  They talk less of stumbling along the path and more of adventuring off the path.  I know my kids are having a hard time here and there, and I handle that.  But there’s also a point where their own privacy comes in as much as my own.  The snapshot of the bad parts of my day has been overshadowed by the overwhelming kindness and goodness around me.  I’m not acting like a Utopian vision, it’s that I’ve slowly wandered past the worst.  Other things will hit, but will they be all that bad after what we’ve seen?

My money’s on us being okay.

My point here is that I don’t write as much about those topics because those topics just don’t come up.  When they do hit, I handle them and I don’t need affirmation, I embraced that I have to make the decision myself and don’t have to write it down to face the uncertainty.

It’s not about inspiration, it’s that I look and those topics aren’t even a consideration any more.

At least, they’re not a consideration nine times out of ten.  Thing is . . . now I can handle the tenth time.

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