When I was little, licking off one of the egg beaters when my mom was baking was a real treat. Mom would call out that there were beaters for the taking and whoever showed up, got one. I often wished I didn't have to share and could have them both to myself. You gotta be a real sugar addict to appreciate licking off cookie or cake dough from a beater. I carried on the tradition of calling out there were beaters for the taking with my own kids. This afternoon I was making a double batch of fudge and found myself alone in the kitchen, licking off both beaters. It was enough to make the tears flow for the umpteenth time today.
I was in town this morning before daylight, hoping to get last minute stuff done before my AA meeting. Stores were getting busy at 8 AM, if you can believe it. I headed to my meeting with nearly everything done on my list, only to find the Saturday morning meetings cancelled for the next two weeks. I've missed the last three meetings and was really looking forward to being at one today. In the moment of walking up to the door I found myself full of gratitude for where I was on my journey, thankful for sobriety and a group of people who 'get it' without a word having to pass between us. Sometimes I think if one alcoholic stood up and played charades to share their experience, strength and hope at a meeting, the rest of us would all be sticking our hands in the air in unison to shout out the answer. That's how much words are often unnecessary as we acknowledge our common humanity with one another. I am so thankful for the people I journey with in recovery. I made my way back to the van and as I started it, the CD player kicked in. The gratitude of a few moments before turned to tears almost instantly.
Before I go any further you need to know that once a song gets stuck in my head I play it over and over again, 20 times in a row if the fancy strikes me. Just ask my family. They all look at one another and groan when that happens, because the song could be by anyone from Josh Groban to Leonard Cohen or Savage Garden. They all pray I get the song of the moment out of my system fast. There's a first time for everything. It just hasn't happened with my music habits yet.
Before I went to the meeting I stopped to see our oldest son. Seeing him in his first apartment felt bittersweet. It reminded me how much time has passed since dearest one and I were in our first apartment. I asked him to burn me two songs from the internet, something oldest son can do in minutes, compared to the hours it takes me with dial up internet. These two songs have struck a chord with me lately and now that I have them both on the same disk, that's what's on repeat as I type. One of the songs I've wanted to share with dearest one. It says so much. You can listen to it here. On the way home from town I was listening to it and sobbing as I drove. How could so many of those years be behind us? I can't wrap my head around it much of the time. This grieving the empty nest feels like a bottomless pit. The pain of it isn't getting any easier. I often feel full of self pity when I cry for what was, but I also recognise that if these tears aren't allowed to surface and flow, I will store them in my body instead.
When other song(listen here) came on the radio a few days ago I asked dearest one to stop and listen to it. He did, although he had to wipe tears from his eyes by the end, cursing slightly whoever wrote such a song. Yesterday, when it came on the radio again, I ended up sobbing anew. Dearest one has a key that fits into only daughter's locket and when the day comes for dearest one to hand the key to only daughter's beloved that tear jerker song will become a tear jerker reality for him.
Earlier in the week I had a session with Father Charlie and in the midst of telling him that I was learning to simply state what had happened in the past without judging myself for it, I started to cry. Those damn tears. They were telling me that I've got a ways to go to forgive myself for some of the memories that the song Remember When brings up. If tears are a form of prayer, like Sister Doreen told me years ago, then I've been doing a lot of praying this past week.
I think the kids coming home for Christmas has been triggering those prayers. While I feel like a contented mother hen at the thought of having them all under one roof again, it's also a tangible reminder that the life we knew as a family is in the past. Perhaps once we get through a full year of firsts, like experiencing a death, the pain won't be so sharp. Maybe the grief will fade as each celebration comes and goes, empty of its rhythm we once knew as a family.
I do look forward to the day when I can honour the past, take responsibility for what is mine to own, and let the rest go. When I can tell Father Charlie I am walking the talk of accepting the past, without it reducing me to tears. The Promises in AA's Big Book state that we will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. When that day comes I will whip up some batter with my egg beaters. Afterwards, while I lick them both off, I might even let some of the dough fall on that particular page of the Big Book to ever remind me that if we work for them, the promises really do come true.