Every word I type seems ridiculous or not enough. I almost feel guilty about posting about anything fun (or funny) and the privilege I have to do so.
It’s sometimes hard to remember that A Wild Rumpus is all about finding joy. Looking for the good and fun and wonderful. It’s all about being the weirdos we are and celebrating it. It’s hard to remember that we knew there would be hard times in the world and/or in our life and that finding the joy though all of that would be a challenge.
But here we are.
And so here we go. Let’s talk.
Doing What I Want
A few years ago, I was visiting with my aunt. I think it was toward the tail-end of her breast cancer treatments because her hair hadn’t grown back yet. We had been chatting about her amazing doctor (who she absolutely loved) and how him and his wife had just come over for dinner. Because who doesn’t invite their oncologist over for dinner?? As the visit was coming to an end, I complimented her nail polish. It was the best color of BRIGHT pink and it just suited her – especially as she kicked cancer’s ass. She chuckled and said, “I know I’m too old to wear this color but I just don’t care. I love it and I’m gonna wear it.” To which I replied “AS YOU SHOULD.”
I’ve thought about this conversation many, many times over the years. Hers is the voice I hear when I want to wear a ridiculously bright blue nail polish. Or black or the brightest shade of pink I want. It’s almost like she’s given me permission to wear the clothes (or colors) that I love. I still take that permission to heart. (And use it to post nail polish posts even though I feel a little silly.)
I walked into my aunt and uncle’s house a couple of weeks ago to visit my aunt. She hadn’t been doing well over the past couple of months due to various health issues. But it was when I was able to get up close and say hello I realized that this visit would be about saying goodbye. It was a lot to process in a short amount of time. My cousin encouraged us to just “get in there” and put our faces close to say hi. I leaned in and called her by the nickname we have called her for the past 25 years. She held on to my hands. She knew we were there. At least for that moment.
As my cousins and other members of my family walked out of the room, I couldn’t seem to leave. My sister and I hung back and I just sat there holding my aunt’s hand. I will never know if she was aware of us there…just sitting there crying. And laughing as we cry because we were a hot mess.
We visited with my cousins as my aunt came in and out of of consciousness the entirety of our visit. Mostly it was just her sleeping. But there were two moments when she knew I was there and…that she knew it was me, Pill. I’m so grateful for that time. My aunt passed away a few days later.
Looking for the Good
It feels so weird to be in this space of time where you are really aware or mortality. I have several friends who have lost a parent in the past month. Not one friend. Several. My heart breaks for them and for my cousins and family all saying goodbye. It feels…unreal to be here. Another aspect of getting older that sucks. Another aspect of getting older that reminds us that life is short.
I wonder if the world felt as heavy to the older generations as it does now. I know that we all have an all access pass to the goings on of the world thanks to 24/7 news outlets and social media. It’s a blessing and a curse. But I wonder if our grandparents or parents got to that point in life where you just realize that it’s always going to get heavier. As our families age…as the political climate changes over and over. Did they get to the point where they recognize that life doesn’t GET easier and so you just have to find the good and the light wherever you are?
I just keep thinking about how we wait for life to calm down before starting that next thing. We wait for our kids to get through one phase or the next before going on that trip or doing something we think we can’t. I keep thinking that we don’t have time to keep waiting.
A Wild Rumpus has always been about finding joy. Standing up for what you believe in. Making noise when the quiet just can’t be. Doing the thing you think you cannot do. Even if you have to figure out what the hell that actually means for you.
And once you figure it out? You should do it. And if you need someone to cheer you on our encourage you to take that first step? Let me know. I’ll make some pom poms and celebrate the shit out of each step and milestone and goal you achieve. I’m even gonna try to do that for myself.
I’m not sure why I always need reminders to live life to the fullest but I decided that you might need that reminder too.
Go start a wild rumpus. I think it’s time.