Friday, February 01, 2013

Something's gotta give

Maybe I've told this story before, maybe not. As Christopher's birthday cupcakes sit baking in the oven, I can't help but tell it again.

It was time for a party. Susan's youngest was turning six. She called me up, like she did whenever cupcakes were in order, and asked me to tell her how to make buttercream frosting from scratch.

Real moms make the frosting for their child's cupcakes. From scratch.

Or something like that.

I start in with my "You let your butter get room temperature . . ."

Wait. You mean it sits out of the fridge? On the counter?

"Yes. It's fine. I promise. I would probably use two sticks. When it's soft enough, put it in your mixer and start to cream it. Watch it - when it's getting fluffy, then start to add your powdered sugar."

How much powdered sugar?

"Oh, I don't know. At least three cups. Probably four. Just keep adding it until you get the consistency you like."

Oh please. There has to be a recipe. Do you mean you are just making this up? You can't just make it up. 

"Alright. Hold on. I'll find a recipe."

So I did. I looked up a recipe and gave her exact measurements for the butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract. Then, I got to the milk.

"It says 2-6 tablespoons of milk."


"Susan? You okay?"

SERIOUSLY? There is a big difference between 2 and 6 tablespoons of milk. This is a RECIPE. It's supposed to have MEASUREMENTS.

We laughed and laughed. Always the scientist. Always the artist.

She didn't end up making the frosting. She was just too tired. Within a week, she went into hospice care. And then we all know what happened.

I can't help it. When I make cupcakes, I can't help myself. Laughing at her frustration over my shoddy instructions. Crying over the fact that she didn't get to make the frosting.

Something has got to give.

I have more to write about. Colin is hilarious. Christopher is thriving. My momma was just here for a wonderful visit.

It's just when I'm in this space, I can't help but keep coming back to Susan.

Maybe I need a change. A fresh start. A new design. Maybe just a whole new blog.

I don't know. I know it's alright to miss her. I know it's alright to be happy and to be sad all at the same time.

But dang. I'm ready for my fingers to write about something else. Such is the downfall of free form, rambling blogging.


  1. I dunno. I like how you honor her here. Makes me smile through tears, too.


  2. What Sarah said.

    That said, you need to do what you need to do. If this space is too fraught, pull up stakes and make a new place.

    Or, tell us more about your music making. You've got that tantalizing header and "don't take the repeats".

    Big ((hugs)).

  3. I know someone who can help...

  4. Start with a picture. Show us a picture of the boy's cake and go from there. If the story devolves into cupcakes and buttercream, that's ok. That way the post won't only be about Susan, but it will encompass everything you're thinking. This is your blog; your space. I adore the rambling, freeform blogging style and love reading everything you have to say, but want want you to be comfortable and satisfied with your own writing.

  5. I love reading whatever you write....but this is your space, your words, your tone. And maybe you want a new space to start over, or maybe you want just a new direction in posting here. Whatever you want, we're here to read--you have so many stories to tell, new and old, and so many facets to your life.

    Hugs to you at a hard season.

  6. I love this story. I love hearing stories about Susan from you. I can picture this conversation happening and it makes me laugh. Thank you for making me laugh this week, my friend.

    That said, I will stay with you here, follow you to a new space, or do both. Whatever you need is what we need. Love you.

  7. I've wondered sometimes if other people bringing Susan up in conversation (or over twitter) is upsetting to you and the other people in the blogosphere who were closest to her. I guess I tend to err on the side of wanting to reassure y'all that other people (even people like me who had only met her a few times IRL) have not forgotten her. I don't want y'all to feel like you are alone in your grief.

    I've read so many blog entries where the writer has lost someone or suffered a tragedy and they wonder if anybody else remembers.

    All that being said, I can imagine that it would be easier to make it through the next day/hour/minute if you could write something without the attached sadness. Maybe in time that will come.

  8. People grieve at an individual rate, and there are no rules for timeframe. I spent time this weekend with a good friend from college I hadn't seen in over 15 years. She lost her sister last year at 29 due to a heart condition. She is still grieving deeply, and we had a very similar discussion. The grief will ease, but things will never be the same. There will be a difficult adjustment to a new normal.

    I don't know you IRL, but I think having this blog to talk about Susan is good for you. I think you have a need for an outlet - what grieving person doesn't - and there is nothing wrong with that. It's good, and healthy.

    Maybe start a different blog for other topics, and keep this one as well? Just my 2 cents. (hugs)

  9. I think maybe you need to give yourself a few more months before contemplating a change. I'm not saying if you want one don't do it. isn't the time for change. It's almost been a year. But? A year is such a small amount of time. Give yourself more time?

    And maybe when you think of funny stories about the boys, right it down in an email and then copy and paste it here. Then technically you're doing both.

    Also? I love hearing about Susan. This made my morning better.

  10. Anonymous3:35 PM

    That's such a sweet funny story - thanks for sharing.

  11. I selfishly love your words about her, your sharing and memories. They are a gift, even as you slog through the swill of unhappiness. But as Jean wrote above, I will follow your writing and journey where ever it takes you.

  12. So sweet. So open. So real. Thank you for sharing. Sending hugs.

  13. Another mom of 2 boys10:55 PM

    Thinking of you today; and Susan and her boys.

  14. I'm holding you in my heart, today and always.

  15. Love to you, Marty-- always, but especially today.

    xoxo CGF

  16. Just wanted to pop my head in again to say I'm still here, reading as often as I can, and finding such beauty and hope and even comfort in your sharing of your struggles and successes. Please know that I feel more connected, less alone, and more hopeful about my own "getting-through(not around)-this-grief" abilities, by reading all that you so graciously share with us. Thank you, sincerely.