The End of an Era … and the Beginning of a New One

All my bags are packed, I’m ready to go…

More like my crap’s not even boxed up and I’m moving things to my new apartment over the course of a weekend and I’ll slowly start to piece my new digs together.  It’s an exciting time and I’m so ready for it.

Living with my current roommate has been nothing short of a blast. We get along great. We have the best time together and we have taught each other lessons along the way. There’s nothing I would change about our year together, only that maybe we could have had a few more girl’s nights.

How many people can say that about their roommate? That they wished they spent more time together? My roommate is the girl I could be stuck in an elevator with for 9 hours and we wouldn’t strangle each other. She’s the one I love walking with and talking about how we’d spend our million dollars if we won the lottery. (I’d make a nap room in my new house, if anyone wanted to know.) She’s the one I want to watch Lifetime with all day on the couch and eat a big dumb pizza with.  She’s the one I want to drink too much wine with at a happy hour and she’s the one who taught me to think a little bit more with my noggin instead of my squishy heart. (I’d like to think I taught her a thing or two, too. 😉 )

I’m a lucky gal.

I’m lucky and fortunate to have had such a great roommate, but this mama gotsta spread dem wings and get to bein’ an independent chick. Yeah, the idea still kind of terrifies me because I’ll be totally on my own, but I think that’s when you learn the most about yourself.

I lived alone for a spell my last year of college. I loved having my own schedule and answering only to myself. I loved having my little morning ritual. I learned that I frequently leave things in random places thinking that I’ll pick them up later and then when I see them there, I get mad and think it was someone else, but then remember that nope, it was just me. I learned that I forget to buy paper towels a lot and will resort to using a T-Shirt. WHAT?! Don’t act like you’re better than me! I learned that I can watch an obscene amount of Netflix and not talk to anyone for hours. That’s definitely something I’ll miss about having my good ole roomie, just shootin’ the bull at our kitchen table over a cup of tea before bed. We might repeat the same stuff night after night, but hey, it’s what we do and I love it.

As I’ve been packing up my crap, (HOW DO I HAVE SO MUCH STUFF?!) I’ve tossed a ton of things that serve no purpose to me and have been cognizant about keeping things that I’ll most definitely use. I’m that girl who keeps things because “maybe I’ll use it later” and then the next time the closet cleaning comes around, I’ll still not have used it. So I tossed a lot of things for good. Deuces, weird sweater that I tried to wear at least 3 times but talked myself out of because it hit on a weird part of my body.

I have a box that I’ve had for years with letters and notes friends and family have written me. I look at it when I’m feeling sentimental or blue. There are pictures from kids I babysat with sweet notes like “u R cool” and pictures of suns with sunglasses.

In that box, I also have love letters from my ex. When we were dating, they’d make me cry because they were true and full of love. During the break up, I’d read them and I’d cry because they were bullshit and I wanted to light them on fire and I hated him. Now that I’m over it and good, I just gave a shrug and ripped ‘em up and threw ‘em away.

Just like that.

It felt so nice. It wasn’t bra-burning-liberating or anything, more like if I was tearing up expired coupons. Like expired coupons, they served me no purpose. They didn’t make me feel anything. They didn’t make me excited or happy. They didn’t make me sad or Dashboard Confessional-ish, but totally neutral.

I’m not gonna lie. I read them, laughed, then did the thumbs down and made a fart noise with my mouth before I tossed them. But still. They gone.  (Hand waving emoji.)

I’ve been reading a lot about energy (gettin’ my spiritual on, know whaddeye mean) and I think moving to a new place with a new beginning will be great. I’ll be getting rid of some bad vibes that the old apartment had and moving onto something that I can morph into my own. I’m going to take this as an opportunity to create my own space that makes me feel comfortable and I’ll know it’s only mine. I can fill it with whatever I want and I can choose the mood and environment.  Maybe before I move in, I’ll burn some sage just to get rid of the previous bad vibes. Wait, what?

It’s an older apartment building that has a lot of charm but just got redone. I’d like to take this opportunity to use a metaphor and say that my apartment is like me. (Oh, fresh.) It still has its flaws and its dings, but it’s been buffed up and ready for the next thing to come its way.

Will I miss my old apartment? Oh, absolutely. Will I feel good about Hannahfying my new one? You betcha.

The cats are super confused about what’s happening, but they’re going to have a new place too! They get their own room and I’m buying them a cat tree because my new apartment has a lot of windows for them to sit in and bask in the sun!!

Oh god.

I didn’t say that.

I mean. The cats are cool with the move, I guess.  Who knows? I don’t talk to them or ask them if they’re excited.

So I’m embracing this move and I will show you my excitement through the form of a gif.



My Mom

The past two weeks have been a roller coaster to say the least.

First, I’d like to thank all of my friends and family for being here for me. Thank you for sitting with me while I cried. Thank you for sending me text messages with sweet words of encouragement and love. Thank you for letting me cry on you and giving me squeezes when I needed it most. Thank you for going on walks with me. Thank you for sending me flowers. Thank you for trying to make me laugh when I was at the bottom. Thank you for sending Facebook messages. Thank you for just being there even if you didn’t know what to do.

It makes me so happy to know I have so many wonderful people in my life.

And I have my mom to thank for that.

Without her, I wouldn’t know how to love. My whole life, she has shown me nothing but love and happiness. She has always shown love in everything she’s done through raising a family, through music, through her friendships, through her love of my dad, and through her church. It’s these things that have shaped her and in turn, have shaped me.

Growing up, my mom bopped around and did everything for my brother and I. She’d make us our favorite cookies, she’d read to us every night, she’d go to our parent-teacher conferences (she’d ground me after mine), and she’d wake us up in the morning by rubbing our arms and coaxing us out of bed, even when we were grumpy teenagers. She did everything with love and care.

Even with her injury, she never stopped being my mom. When I was going through a tough time, I’d call her and cry and she’d listen. She’d give me words of wisdom, and if she didn’t have anything to say, she’d just be there. When I lived at home, I’d go lay in her bed and she’d stroke my hair and rub my arm, just like she did when I was little. She’d tell me everything would be okay. I would cry and tell her my problems were so trivial compared to what she’s been through and she’d say they weren’t. She’d tell me that sure, she’s been through a lot, but all I can do is keep moving forward and be positive. She never once said anything bad about her accident or the situation she was in, but just kept moving.

The music in her life was nothing but love. Every piano key she touched was filled with a plan and sent out love to everyone’s ears. Even if she fumbled and messed up, you wouldn’t know because as her fingers would dance along the piano, the sound was nothing but beautiful. She’d play any song by ear and Collin and my dad and I would spend hours asking her to play our songs and we’d dance and sing. She’d play Backstreet Boys for me, John Denver for my dad and The Beatles for my brother. Once I think Collin talked her into playing the Iowa Fight Song, which she played with heavy fingers, but she did it out of love. (Pretty sure she countered it immediately with the Nebraska Fight Song, but nonetheless, she’d play that song over and over for Collin if he asked.)

The weddings she’d play for were amazing. She loved meeting with the brides and picking out music for their special day. Every wedding was unique and she was happy to be chosen for it. People would stop her in Hy Vee and say, “Hey, you played for so and so’s wedding! It was the best music I’ve ever heard!” and she’d smile and say thanks.

She’d play for funerals, too. She played for my friends’ funerals which were more than difficult for her. I asked her how she could even do it, and she told me it was her gift. It was her way of healing. She wanted to help the families by bringing beautiful music in their darkest times. She played with love when the families needed it most.

After the funerals, she’d usually take a bath. The harder the funeral, the longer the bath. Sometimes she needed longer to soak, but it was her way of healing.

My mom and dad have something special that I honestly don’t have the words for. They knew they loved each other when they first met and my dad knew he wanted to marry her by their second date. Their marriage is filled with such love and friendship, that it makes everyone around them happy. They complement each other in every aspect and there is nothing they wouldn’t do for each other. It’s grown in ways only the two of them will understand. They’re each other’s best friends and my heart breaks over and over seeing what my dad went through the past two weeks when he thought he would lose his other half. He calls her buddy and kisses her forehead. He holds her hand and just stares at her, seeing the same woman he fell in love with 30 years ago and he is still so in love. No question, no denying. They are meant for each other and my brother and I are fortunate to have grown up with their love and partnership. Whoever I choose to be with knows he has big shoes to fill, because I am expecting him to only be half the man my dad is and I hope I can be half the woman my mom is.

It took me a long time to realize that my mom is so much cooler than me. I always knew my mom is something special, but it’s unfortunate that it took the accident to really put things into perspective for me.

When she fell, it was like a cry heard around the world. People from everywhere came forward to send their love. Through cards, phone calls, hospital visits, food delivered to the house, and everything in between, people just wanted to show they loved my mom. In some way or another, she had shown them love and helped them. It was no surprise to me that she is so loved. People just wanted to help my mom as she had helped them.

She has developed beautiful friendships with some of the most wonderful people who came forward, and had the accident not happened, I wonder if their friendships would be as strong. I know my mom is grateful for the ones she’s gotten to know so well and the ones who have been there for her.

Her church community is one that is unbreakable. She is and was, their dear organist and pianist and there has been no task too small for them to do for my mom. Anything she needs, they deliver. The prayers they’ve sent up for her are much needed in her dire time and I know without them, this journey would have been a much more difficult one for us all. While I’m not active in the church, words cannot describe how thankful I am to have the church family there for my mom.

Church was always special for us because it always made me feel happy knowing that it was my mom who was playing their music. She played for the choirs, services and anyone who wanted to perform music. The day before I left for Germany, she made an announcement to the congregation that I was leaving, and through a teary eyed speech, she told them that she’d be playing my favorite hymn. And through tears, I sang along to her playing.

She radiates such positivity despite everything she’s been through, even in the dark times that seemed to show no hope. It’s her love that’s gotten her through everything.  It’s her love that will continue to get her through everything. It’s been a very long and hard road and from here on out, it will grow harder. Now, more than ever, she needs love to power through this.

Despite all of her ailments, the only thing that has been the least damaged has been her heart.  That should come to a surprise to no one, as her heart is the biggest out of anyone’s and it is only filled with love.

Again, thank you everyone who has been here.

Thank you, Mom.

I love you.