Saturday, March 28, 2015

Deja vu all over again

6 years out, and it's like everything is happening all over again.  As I write it's Saturday, March 28th at 8:44pm. Some random Facebook post just reminded me that it's Earth Hour, that one hour a year when everyone is supposed to turn off their lights in order to raise awareness about climate change and the fact that we can actually do something about it.

The thing about Earth Hour is that Kate really really really wanted to observe it in 2009. She went to an environmental school and sincerely wanted to do everything she could to help the environment. I was somewhat crunchy myself and admired her enthusiasm, but on March 28th, 2009 I simply wasn't in the mood.

I was tired. I was stressed. I loved my kids but I was a single parent and didn't get a ton of time to myself. I was looking forward to Easter week when they would spend their spring break with their dad and I would have my own spring break. I had no idea it would be a permanent break. No fucking clue.

I more or less told Kate that Earth Hour was a nice idea, but we didn't really have time for all that (how much time does it take to turn off some lights and light a few candles?!?!). I remember saying something about how it would be bed time and she and Peter would need to brush their teeth and how would they see in the bathroom? In retrospect I wonder what in the holy hell was wrong with me?

So here I am, it's March 28th, 2015. In 2015 dates fall on the same days of the week that they did in 2009. March 28th fell on a Saturday then, and here it is again. The ever looming April 6th occurred on a Monday and it's about to happen again in just over a week. It's hard to explain exactly why this occurrence is such a big deal, but I'm finding that it is. It brings back the memories so much more sharply and vividly. I'm guessing others who've experienced major trauma will understand.

For the past couple of weeks I've been thinking about how those weeks of March and April were the precious last few I would ever have with Kate and Peter. Of course I had no idea, no one ever does. I was wrapped up in my own head thinking about how I needed to lose 10 lbs., how the guy I really liked wasn't calling me and how I really hated being single. I was quite self-absorbed and not very present. I was looking forward to spring break when I could do some serious cleaning - both physically - by getting rid of clutter and stuff in my house, and emotionally - by getting rid of clutter and stuff in my mind. I was trying to "eat clean" (whatever the fuck that means) and "training" for my first 5k. I think I had even purchased some crazy diet plan with flash cards to help me make a new start. Good grief.

When I reflect back now I think about how I would give anything to have spent those weeks focused on and engaged with my kids. I took it for granted that they would always be there. I do have some great memories - I know we spent the afternoon of St. Patrick's Day in Frick Park because it was unseasonably warm and I remember Peter learning all about Mr. Yuck and doing an incredibly good impression of the Mr. Yuck face. But most of all I remember fretting and focusing on stupid, inconsequential things like dating douchebags and trying to lose weight. What an unfortunate waste of that precious time!

I'm not going to continually beat myself up over it because I realize that self-beratement doesn't do anyone any good, but Earth Hour threw me for a pretty intense loop. I know I can never go back and change things and I'm over wishing I could. I think that now I live very differently. I try to maintain the perspective that we never know what will happen tomorrow. I would say that every day is a gift, but I don't actually agree with that. I will say that every day is a chance to love, and my best guess is that love is what it's all about.

P.S. I did, in fact, observe Earth Hour this year.