“But if you close your eyes, does it almost feel like nothing changed at all?”

I found a graphic, purely by coincidence, with that quote on it.  I don’t know when;  probably over the summer.  It spoke to me.  I screen-shotted it so I could keep it forever, or at least until I lose my phone.

I am a sentimental woman.  Days, dates, times, and moments etch themselves into my mind and I often find myself saying (or thinking), “At this time, last year, I…”

And so, at this time, last year…  Ron was working in NJ during the week.  We had already suffered the first blow—he had gotten a pay cut the month before.  A perfect part time job fell into my lap a few days later, but it was a year ago this past week that I officially became a working mother.  Also, at this time, last year… Ron and his two best friends, Chris Campana and Mike Radosti, had a table at the NY Comic Con.  Ron, Chris, and Mike are the driving force behind Wyrlwynd, creators of a comic book called Kantara.

This was exciting, and exhausting.  I was used to doing the solo parenting thing, and while Ron was usually home on the weekends, I had become accustomed to (and looked forward to) planning a little special weekend adventure with Gabriel when Ron was involved in comic book stuff.  Last year, at this time…I took Gabriel to Central Market, the country’s oldest farmer’s market, right here in the city of Lancaster.  We strolled through, visited a friend at the Miesse Candies stand (because…chocolate, yes!), and picked up a gingerbread man cookie on the way out, before heading over to my father’s store on W. King St.

The next day, I took Gabriel out to lunch at Bob Evans, and one of my besties met us there.  Thank goodness she did, because after I hung up the phone with her, I accidentally took two painkillers instead of two Excedrin.  And then I accidentally ordered enough food for 4+ people because I was high as fuck.

20121014_124434Bob Evans  10/14/12  (L to R) Cheese Thingies, Country Fried Steak w/ Mashed Potatoes and Gravy, a big-assed bowl of Apple Pie Bites and I-Don’t-Know-WTF-Else, ONE piece of French Toast, and two Biscuits w/ Gravy.  That was my order.

We still talk about that day at Bob Evans and laugh—but only because I didn’t OD and she made sure Gabriel and I got home safely.

It was AUTUMN, beautifully crisp and perfect…

So when the NY Comic Con rolled around again this past weekend, and I was back to solo parenting for the first time in God knows how long….yes, it did feel like nothing changed at all.  My bliss, my happiness…wasn’t because Ron was gone, but because life felt familiar and comfortable.  It wasn’t until two weeks after NY Comic Con 2012 did our world turn upside down, but we never saw that coming…

When I woke up this past Thursday, alone….with the soothing sound of rain pounding on my roof…  I stayed in bed for as long as I could, to savor the memories of a time, not that long ago, when we were OK.  It almost felt like nothing changed at all.

I took Gabriel to school, and picked up some groceries.  I knew it was going to rain all day, and I had planned to make turkey chili so that we could enjoy a comfort-food dinner together, just the two of us.  Just like back then, before everything changed.  Back then, on rainy days…I’d lower the lights and have candlelit dinners with Gabriel, with the beautiful sound of raindrops hitting my kitchen skylights while we ate and talked about things that mommies and sons talk about.

Back then, we weren’t your typical family, but I did the best I could to be normal while Ron was out of town.

It rained into the night…he had a bath, a snack, and we got his things ready for school the next morning.  I read to him, tucked him in, and kissed him goodnight.  I crawled into bed shortly thereafter, mostly to close my eyes, listen to the rain, and reminisce about what life was like…at this time, last year.  When we were OK.