Mondays are my busy day. I left work about 3:30 and drove over to Caitlin's school to pick her up and get her home earlier than the bus would. I do this because she has dance from 5:20 until 7:00. This gives her time to get her homework finished before class. On this particular Monday, I had to run to the post office store to mail two shirts to Gary that he left hanging to dry in the bathroom. James was dilly dallying while getting out of the car giving a woman with 500 packages the opportunity to get in front of us. This is not hyperbole. Picture the biggest gift bags you have ever seen. Multiply that by three. Stuff these bags to the gills with individual boxes. That is how much she had to send to BOSNIA!!! This didn't bother me too much though because I had plenty of time to go get Caitlin from the house. Unfortunately, the unthinkable happened. My son begins doing the peepee dance. I tell him to hold it because the man doesn't have a public restroom. Neither does the cleaners or bookstore. The man is the only person working in a very secure store, so my son can't even pray for mercy from the man. I keep hoping that this will go quickly. Then it happened. He wet his pants. I had to leave the store with the shirts unsent and put James in the car so he can change clothes. After that, I gave up on sending the shirts.
It became time to leave for dance so I wrangle James into the car again. By this time, he is upset because I won't let him run back into the locked house to grab a game charger. I said, "If the game dies, it's time to stop playing." This doesn't sit well with him and he throws a fit - a full on fit. I immediately take the game system from him and try to start the car. That's when the even MORE unthinkable happened. The car wouldn't start. It would make the sound like it was starting and even vroom, then it would cut off. It took me a couple of times of trying to figure out what was happening when I finally lost my cool and kicked Caitlin and the screaming boy out of the car so I could hear what the car was doing. (That is how loud he was crying.) It was no use. I couldn't get the car started. I went in and called the mechanic, but the phone rang and rang. It was only 5:05. What time could they possibly close? The ad showed they were open until 6. I rang and rang and re-rang until I realized it was futile. I then called my mother to come get me so I could use her truck to get to a doctor's appointment tomorrow. On her way there she noticed the garage bays were still open and she called me. On our way back I stopped there and walked into the garage. The guys said that the owner closes at 5:00 in the winter. Fortunately, these were nice guys. They listened to my dilemma, called the tow truck and told the driver to bring the car there to be looked at first thing in the morning. Thank goodness for small favors.
Yesterday morning I got a message from a stranger on Facebook. I read it anyway. It was titled "Eileen's Funeral Arrangements." Now I know more than one Eileen so my mind started reeling. As I read the date and time and then the location, I figured out it was my childhood friend who I learned to play flute with. She and I sat together for years "duking it out" with one other girl for first chair. We were in girl scouts together, her mother our troop mom. We had the most awesome Halloween party in her parents' garage. I can still remember the bowls of ick her mother had us put our hands in pretending they were brains and intestines and such. I remember it like it was yesterday. When she moved away, I got her new address and wrote her a few times, but you know how letter writing goes. One person forgets and the other delays writing until the day that one person no longer lives where they lived before. This was long before the internet. On occasion, I would find her mom and dad and ask for her email address. They would give it to me and we would write again and then drop off again. Then came Facebook. We could look in on each others lives, commenting from time to time without worrying about remembering email addresses or even remembering each others birthdays. My biggest fear, however, with long distance friends is that something would happen to them and I would not know. I am sure it is the last thing anyone is thinking about when making funeral arrangements for a loved one. "Hey, let me get into her address book and Facebook pages and her Linkdin pages and so on to let all her 'followers' know about her passing." I remember when my dad died, I tried to contact certain people who would send it through the grapevine. I am sure there are people who didn't know and still don't know two years later that he is gone.
So back to today. I could be sitting here feeling sorry for myself thinking about the broken car, my naughty boy, my embarrassment at the post office, the pee in the car seat, or a botched errand, but I am not. I am suddenly thankful for my son who has all his faculties and my talented daughter who graces the stage bringing joy to many. (Eileen's adopted son, Polo, will never walk or be able to take care of himself.) I am grateful for having a car at all. I feel blessed to have mom who will come and get me at the drop of a hat and lend me her truck whenever I need it. (Polo will never get to a visit from his mom again.) I appreciate the mechanics who helped me instead of just saying, "We're closed." I am relieved that I already have tomorrow off because of a previous appointment. Now I don't have to take a personal day to get the car fixed.
Most of all, I am thankful for my life, my crazy, mixed-up life because there are definitely worse situations to be in. Unfortunately, it took the passing of a dear friend to help me recognize it.
Dear Eileen, I miss you so much words cannot explain. I am thankful you were not alone at the time of your passing. I am thankful that another person named AnneMarie was at your side to hold your hand. Were it not for this mysterious AnneMarie that no one can figure out who she is, I would not have been notified of your passing. (Everyone thought I was the one with you...Oh, how I wish it were me.) I don't know what else to say except, we were supposed to be friends forever. Your were my favorite person to compete with for first chair in band. You weren't supposed to be the first to do this. I will miss your smile, your procrastination, your tech tips. The world is a better place because you were here but a sadder place because you are gone.NOTE: I have since found that AnneMarie was actually AnnaLouise. 12-1-2010