Firsts.

We’re camping. We’re not religious people so Easter obviously isn’t a big deal in our household. Weather permitting, I’d like to make it a family tradition to go camping every Easter weekend. This weekend we’re at a Jellystone in Natural Bridge with plans to hit up some caverns and a drive through safari.

Right now I’m laying in the top bunk next to C, waiting for him to fall asleep. Normally that’s not something I do (lay with him, that is), but not only is this his first time sleeping in the camper since the fall but he’s also still sick. So I figured I’d be a nice mother for once and not traumatize him by leaving him alone in a strange place like I usually do.

Laying next to him with one arm slung over his chest, watching his eyelids slowly drop and then rapidly fly open over and over again, idly thinking of ways to toddler-proof the top bunk so he doesn’t break his neck, tears suddenly started streaming down my cheeks as a thought struck me: this isn’t right. I should be lying up here with a child right now, but not this one. The last time we went camping we hatched out a plan for the following spring/summer:  J would sleep on the pullout couch, C would be in the bottom bunk and I would sleep in the top bunk with Zoe. That way I’d be right there to feed her the eight billion times a night she required while not disturbing everyone else (or at least as little as possible in a camper).

I think subconsciously I knew something wasn’t right. I noticed on the drive out here that I was starting to feel depressed and tired. I just chalked it up to not having slept well for the last week due to two sick children, combined with listening to C cry and whine for the last hour in the car. And then once we got here everything was forgotten as I rushed around trying to get everything unpacked and dinner made before bed. It wasn’t until I stopped moving and my brain started wandering that my subconscious let the rest of me in on its little secret–this is bullshit. Everything is bullshit.

It’s these times that are the hardest. The “first” milestones. The first minute, first hour, first day, first week, first month.  First story time. First time back at the gym. First time seeing someone who knew I was pregnant. And then the firsts I hadn’t considered:  the first drive in a new vehicle and the first camping trip. It makes me wonder how many millions of firsts are going to catch me off guard like this in the future. How I’ll never be prepared for all of them. How it doesn’t matter how well it seems that I’m doing; I’ll never fully be over her death. How it doesn’t matter how many times I repeat “it is what it is” to myself–it still doesn’t make it right. It still hurts. I still don’t want to accept it. I shouldn’t have to accept it. Everything is bullshit.

I hate nighttime. When everything else shuts down except my brain, which never stops. Never gives me a moment of peace. It doesn’t matter how good of a day I had; it all turns to shit when it’s time to go to sleep.

I’m not going to let this ruin our weekend. Tomorrow is a new day and it’s going to be a great one. It may not be complete or what it should be, but it is what it is. And we’re going to make it as good as it can be.

Until it’s time to go to sleep tomorrow.

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