A hard habit to break.

I woke up in the middle of the night and reached over to the nightstand, fumbling around for my glasses. It took a few seconds before I realized that I don’t wear glasses anymore, but I suppose that something so ingrained in my being would be a hard habit to break. I wore glasses for over 20 years, barely even getting up to go to the bathroom without them. I can hardly expect one measly year to overturn the automatic responses of a lifetime.

Or maybe it’s just been that kind of a week. I left some laundry in the washer and some in the dryer on Sunday. The laundry that was in the dryer was no big deal, just some sheets that I’ll put back on our bed on Saturday morning. But . . . when considering those sheets, I apparently didn’t consider that I did need to get them out of the dryer, to make room for the clothes that were still in the washer on Thursday, when I went to put in a load since I had the afternoon off. Never in my grownup life have I forgotten a load of laundry for that long. Maybe my automatic responses are just . . . off this week. In all kinds of ways. (I was able to get the smell out. Thanks Arm and Hammer detergent. They didn’t pay me to say that.)

When my dad died, the most unhelpful comment that anyone made was this one, three days after his death: “Wait until you pick up the phone to call him and you realize he’s not there.” Well . . . thank you. That was just a delightful thing to say. And maybe that will happen one day, but I’ve spent most of this year being acutely aware that he wasn’t available, that my automatic response to call him when I needed help or advice or basketball smack talk was just not possible. It hasn’t slipped my mind. I haven’t found myself dialing his number accidentally.

But, given this week’s brain lapses, I don’t discount the possibility.

There are so many things that were huge parts of my life that just aren’t around anymore, things that shaped my week and my perspective and the way I saw myself. It was hard to imagine not needing my glasses, not being on top of the laundry, not being able to call my dad. But that’s the way things are now. And maybe I’m just suffering from a ten minute window of optimism, but . . . that doesn’t seem like such a bad thing. There are all kinds of bad habits that I try to break – biting the skin beside my nails, holding on to grudges. The habit of calling my dad, or wanting to call him, isn’t the worst possible thing.

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