An entirely fictional celebration.

Most people save the best bite for last, but I’m an expert. I start with the least deserving bite and slowly whittle it down to the 1st class cake. If cake wants to survive a little longer around me, it has to earn the privilege. It’s just delicious. That’s why I started baking.

My boss was a different character entirely. Penney was a strict believer that strife encouraged bonding, so she was careful to never be fully-staffed. Someone got stuck in the snow? Your vacation just got cancelled, buddy. You should know better than to try to leave town. Summer? Flat tires from construction, overheating engines. Autumn? There’s so much work to go around that it’s exhausting even with all hands on deck. Winter? Snow. Ice. You know the drill with carrying mail in the winter, when the bitter rain freezes into your gloves and the only way to wiggle your fingers is to trade them out for the spare, soggy pair drooping on the defroster. And Spring? Well, spring can be really beautiful. You still have the flat tires, but not quite so many since the nails haven’t really built up numbers yet. Spring feels like the blossoming bud that it is. No one wants to leave town during spring.

Anyway, what was my point? Oh, yeah. Even when your boss barks like she’s still in the military, and you got a flat tire in the pouring rain, and your spare had an unnoticed leak that left you pounding a plug in the sweltering steam of a 100 degree summer thunderstorm, and your truck smells like rot from the years of moisture built-up driving through rain with your window down, and all your shoes have holes worn in them like you’re some rural drifter, and Marnie in Apartment 12B wants your boss to make sure you haven’t been stealing her therapeutic shoe catalogs, do you know what you should do?

Have a piece of cake; because even a life more abrasive than sandpaper is pretty damn beautiful.

On My Daughter’s Birthday

She would’ve been five at 9:01 this morning.

It’s sort of funny how we feel disenfranchised upon loss, as though we have been stolen from. Whenever I look back on my life, it comes in chunks or waves. It comes as so many of Sylvia Plath’s figs. It seems I have lived a multitude of lives without earning the right to any of them. Each has been a spectacular and surprising gift. Upon my daughter’s death, I became even more assured and aware of this gift.

I have been the rebellious child, the naive young wife, the poverty-stricken single mother, the lost divorcé, the woman burying her daughter, and now the comparatively wealthy and undeserving middle-class American mail-carrying Christian. So many people in my life have only gotten one or two of those things, and here I stand surrounded by experiences that have been lovingly placed to guide me home. There has been so much tragedy in the name of touching my life. I can’t help but wonder how many other lives are being touched today in this moment of suffering for myself and my beautiful family.

Today, I remember the 8 months, 5 days and 15 minutes that were my life as a mother, and I give praise and gratitude to our heavenly father, who knows just what it means to watch a child die and has bonded us in a union unique to only parents of lost children. Amen.