On Time Travel And Therapy

I'm having a tough time lately. And by lately, I mean always. I can't remember a time that wasn't tough. That I didn't struggle.

I do well sometimes. So well that even I don't believe that I'm on a tightrope of depression and anxiety. I feel like I'm walking that line so perfectly, so capably, that I am keeping my thoughts of doom and wrongness away. But after awhile, in they seep and I realize they've always been there. I've just been good at ignoring them. Ignoring the tightrope. The trepidation.

On Loss And Celebrating Small, Nothing Memories Of Dad

This morning I asked my sister if it was okay to have hot dogs and saimin for dinner tonight. It's Dad's birthday so we're skipping our usual Tuesday fare of carnitas and fresh-made tortillas pressed by Iliana's busy little hands. I know that changing the menu isn't a big deal, but today it might be. I mean, it is. After all, this is Dad that we're talking about.

Armatron and The Year of Devastation

“See you next year!” we call to one another, jittery with equal parts Christmas break excitement and Christmas party sugar. I still laugh really hard at the joke, though I am becoming aware that the other girls are not laughing quite as much. We're in seventh grade, after all. We are supposed to be growing up, our senses of humor with us. Or something.

This Thing Is Not Like The Other

I hurried up the stairs, knowing Ian was already running a little late. He is the one to get up with the kids in the morning, ushering Jonas off to high school in one piece before settling in for good morning cuddles with Iliana. They zone out on the couch together while I make my Walking Dead way out of bed. Eventually.

(It's pretty damn cool to spend your first waking moments knowing what a great choice you made in a husband.)

What The Fates Allow

I sit with my back to the Christmas tree, a roll of wrapping paper on the floor in front of me. There are a dozen or so gifts to wrap for the children and I am excited. This will be the loveliest Christmas we've had in years.

I roll the thick paper back onto itself and press it down to give myself a crease, the way my mother taught me when I was young. I slide a knife through the fold to give myself a good cut edge, and then flip the paper over. The first gift to be wrapped is a darling Playmobil set I would have adored as a girl. Who are we kidding? I adore it now.

That First Afterwards Christmas

This year I get a pink Le Clic camera. I immediately load a disc of film into the back of the plastic case, delighting in its slippery newness.

My sister gets a blue Le Clic because Mom insists on getting us matching presents. Celine gets blue because she refuses anything not blue. She owns blue, as if that's possible. I get whatever other color there is because I'm not particular, only that's not quite it.

Mom doesn't have to tell us to open our gifts at the same time anymore; we've learned for ourselves the lesson of a spoiled surprise. There are few surprises these days anyway, since Celine and I are both relentless and clever about guessing our presents. Sometimes Mom just laughs at our pre-Christmas antics. Sometimes she get truly angry. This year she is more angry than amused.

Baby's First Christmas

I start first grade and feel apprehensive. I don't know that word yet, but I know what it means. My mother's ʻōpū swells around the baby she's carrying and I don't know if I want to be happy. I'm too big for her to carry now, she tells me. But I know it's actually because of the baby.

My cousin Candace asks me if I'm excited to be a big sister and I shrug.

"Well," I tell her plaintively, "I guess I won't be the baby anymore."

Mommy said I have some time to get used to the idea. It's only September and the baby won't be here until right before Christmas. She seems excited about it.

This Right To Die

On the first of November, the internet was aflutter with the news that Brittany Maynard ended her life. And sure, I read the articles with as much voyeuristic interest as the next guy, but the timing of it just kind of gutted me, I guess.

After all, it was also the third anniversary of my mother's death.

Emergency Contact

"Mom, what do I write here?" I pointed to the line on the emergency contact form, blinking back tears I didn't want her to see.

She glanced at the rectangular card. "Retired," she said impatiently. I wrote the word in tiny, smushed together letters.

I felt a strange heat in my cheeks as I continued filling out the form, the rest of the information second nature by then. I wrote Supervisor in the space asking for my mom's occupation, directly under my dad's new title. Wrote the phone number for my cousin's flower shop on Castle Street.

Nanakuli Side

Today would have been my dad's 70th birthday, so I wanted to share a little bit of him. Happy birthday, Dad.

"My turn, my turn!" I called as I stretched my arms out towards him. He took my tiny hands in his strong, huge ones and pulled me up. My feet left the carpet, landing on his shins. I walked up over his knees and thighs, making their way to the round belly that became my springboard. Then, my hands still held tight in his, I launched myself from his sturdy torso, flipping over to land back on the carpet with a thud.


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