The 19th

I have this thing with numbers. I always have. I remember birthdays and dates and other non-math-related type number stuff. Before there was Facebook to tell everyone birthdays and milestone memories, I did it from my Rain Man memory. I'm sure there are lots of people like me out there who do the same too— I've been told a few times that it's creepy. I will admit my skills aren't as sharp as they once were, I don't get it right all the time, but I'm usually close. Then again, if you asked me what my fourth grade boyfriend’s birthday is, I'd be able to say with great certainty it's March 13th. (Anyone who still knows Mike F. can go fact check that).

When I look at a calendar, I don't see to-dos. I see things in the numbers. Like invisible names of people and their birthdays or anniversaries and occasions marked by that date. I see meaning. I see memories. I don't know why. But I can't NOT see it that way.

So for the past couple years, I have had a not-so-positive connection to the 19th day of the month. Because my husband Matthew died on the 19th. The kids don't notice anymore how much I dread the 19th. But they know that's the day of the month that daddy died. So every month I just have this feeling that a crappy day awaits. I feel something heavy on that day each month. Thirty-one months worth of 19ths have passed, Siri just told me.

Leading up to the sale of my home in Kentucky, then with the search for a new home in Arizona, there were many days I questioned myself. Am I doing the right thing? Are the kids going to be ok? How the hell am I going to do this big of a 'thing' alone? I have always been pretty spontaneous, pretty impulsive and a little determined when it comes to getting my way. Maybe I went overboard this time? Maybe you should have stayed and learned to suck it up every winter til you were put in a nursing home. No, it's fine, I tell myself. We'll be fine. No matter how strong the doubt is, no matter the negative thoughts that creep in telling me I'm doing everything wrong— I tell myself it's going to be fine.

So before I sold my perfect home in Kentucky, the kids and I searched online for the perfect house in Arizona. We'd lay on the floor and scour the realty sites. The girls wanted a house that allowed everyone their own bedroom and outside space for a trampoline. My son wanted a yard with grass. I just wanted to find a home that screamed out to me that it was 'the one.' Maybe one with a name that would show me promise that this is the right thing I'm doing. "You and the kids will be ok, here at this home on Cactus Drive!” I wanted it to tell me. “Come find your new life here on 'Paradise Lane!'"

But none of them did.

I looked at dozens of homes—one on Gloria Drive, which is my daughter's middle name—but it was a bit farther out than I wanted to be. I loved the homes that had the word "Mountain" in the address because I was sure it would remind me every day of the view I'm fortunate enough to be getting now as a former Midwest-born girl. One home I considered was on Andrea Drive —and had it not gone pending before my house sold, I most definitely would have made an offer to live at a house on a street that bears my name. In hindsight, I realize how narcissistic that sounds. But I definitely would have loved giving that address out.

In the end, the kids and I found an amazing home with bedrooms out the wazoo, a beautiful view of a mountain range, a curly slide into the pool and even a doggie door for Juno. This home had it all. And when I went to go see it in person, I just had a feeling this home was mine. It was more expensive than the others. It is bigger than what we probably needed and didn't have "Cactus” or “Paradise" in the address, but I could just see us there. I didn't see anything more than that.

And for over a week now, we’ve been enjoying this home and our new surroundings. The kids love having their own rooms and riding hoverboards along the empty wood floors. We found a perfect pizza place right up the street. And I wake up to a balcony that overlooks a mountain range in the distance and there are even hot air balloons that frequently rise up over the hills above my yard. So far so perfect.

It was only the other day, on a shipping label from Amazon that I saw it. The reason this is where we are meant to be. The "it's going to be fine" that I so badly needed months ago just got here. And it was delivered in a Prime Now package.
My house is on 19th Avenue. I live with my children on 19th. Because somehow nearly three years after his death, my compass and source of direction is still Matthew. The number I hated and dreaded and mentally connected with negatively is not anymore. I see it now. The wink —a date letting me know this is where it's ok to be right now. That it's not the numbers or the names or anything like that that are going to make this ok really. It's the trust in the journey and the faith in moving forward on this path that tells me it's all fine.

It's the 19th. And it's going to be a great day.


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