2020 has been weirder than it has any right to be, but I feel like I've got my own special kind of weird attached to it, because this is my personal Year Of Firsts.
I'm adult-less for the first time.
My biological father passed when I was 9, a month before my 10th birthday. I remember being mad because he couldn't stick around a couple more weeks until I turned double digits - that's the way kids think I suppose. But I tried to be understanding because Mom and the other grown ups were so very upset, though from my perspective I didn't feel like they grasped the situation in the right light.
The night after his funeral, I remember a bird coming to my window in the middle of the night and thinking that it's wings beating against the glass was some kind of message from my dad. At least that's what it felt like.
19 years later my stepfather passed. I wasn't visited by a bird this time, but I do recall a moment when I looked at his photo, and I heard him laugh. He was an amazing man - a real pillar thru my formative years. He scolded me exactly twice but when I tell you I was hesitant to step out of line with him...not because I was afraid of his anger, but because I was devastated by the thought of disappointing him. I miss him. A lot.
Then in December of 2019, my mom passed. I came home to care from her, and was here for three years doing things I've never had to do and never imagined doing. I gave up my life to care for her and I had a lot of feelings about it. A. Lot. Don't get me wrong, I don't regret doing it, I just struggle with the challenge of figuring out how to get my life back on track after up-ending everything to come back to my childhood home. There were times when I though there was no way I could do this - even though in my mind I acknowledged that my situation was finite.
There were times when it was overwhelming. When I didn't think I could do it. And then it was done and here I am. I am experiencing the strangest version of 'alone' that I've ever had. This coming from someone who generally doesn't have a problem with being alone - I LIKE being alone. But this was different.
So yeah, I am now experiencing my year of firsts.
So far, I've had my first birthday without an adult. This weekend I'm experiencing my first mothers day without a mom. A few days later I'll be experiencing my first May 12th (her birthday) without her. I'm not sure how I'm supposed to feel about it.
I used to send my mother a dozen white roses, three times a year - they were her favorite flower. I'd send them on my birthday - a kind of thank you I learned from Ms. Marcus, a teacher from my high school. I'd send another dozen on Mother's Day, and another on her birthday. It was just a thing between us. Sometimes it would make her cry - happy tears she told me.
This year I kind of feel like I never want to see a white rose again. I'm trying not to indulge in my own pity party, it's just weird.
So tomorrow is Mother's day. And a few days later will be her birthday and I'll try not to cry watching commercials, and try not to tear up when people tell me happy mother's day, and I'll try to say happy mother's day to others and mean it.
And I'll be an orphan. For the first time.