Quite a few people showed up for the tutorial/party last night. We had enough for a game with 9 of us at the table. My mind and my heart weren't in it. It felt so good to be surrounded by my family and friends, while hurting so badly that he wasn't here. It was the first "cookout" that I planned and cleaned house for. It reminded me so much of getting ready for James' birthday in early August. Only he wasn't in the living room vacuuming while I made the spinach artichoke dip. It is a really good recipe (and I usually don't care for spinach and artichokes) that I will put at the bottom of this post.
What was so difficult was a memory that kept popping up. Leonard and I had meant to go away for our 10th anniversary last year. We had gone away, alone, exactly twice before in our marriage. Our honeymoon to Niagara Falls and our 5th anniversary to Traverse City for a long weekend at the Cherry Festival. We had meant to do something BIG...but both of us are planners and savers so we went, instead to Soaring Eagle, a resort/casino in Mt. Pleasant. And we had such a beautifully wonderful time. Our room had a jacuzzi (which was amazing...and fun) and a fireplace. We had so much fun just being together. I have a lot of pictures of us standing on the grounds. The last night (we were only there two nights), Leonard signed me up for the poker tables. I was scared to death because I didn't play...he did. I was afraid I would screw up. I'm not a casino type person. I sat down and he told them to go easy on them. I ended up winning almost $400. And he was so giddy, and his eyes were sparkling and he kept calling me a hustler. Sitting at the table last night, was just another knife of reality. Realizing that we won't get a chance to take that BIG vacation. That that was our last time together...just the two of us.
I really, really need him. This can't possibly be true. I can spend an hour or two of being "normal". Whatever normal is...and then it all comes crashing in. How much I need him to make this better. How much I need him to just be me.
I walk around this house. The house we chose together, with most of the things chosen and brought in by him. The bookcases that he grew up with. The bedroom set that was his family's. His shirts. His tools. His garage. And I don't feel like I belong here without him. I just am being right now, for the sake of my children. And it is just so unfair that my son has to grow up without the big, strong Daddy that he so admired and wanted to be like. That somebody will have to stand in to give our baby girl away if she decides to get married. That I will lay in bed alone, with just the memory of his arms around me, his knees pressed up against the back of my legs, his whispers in my hair, without him.
I keep coming back to movies like Deja Vu and Superman. When superman turns back time to save Lois Lane... and I realize that I lost the person who could make this better... that I am stuck with just this.
And then I go and hit post, without putting the recipe in.
Warm Spinach Dip
13-oz can artichoke hearts, chopped
10-oz pkg. frozen, chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1c. grated Parmesan cheese
2 1/4 c. grated Monterey Jack cheese, divided
1 T. grated Romano cheese (I don't always put this in because 1. it's only a tablespoon and 2. I don't think it makes that much of a difference in taste)
Stir artichoke hearts, spinach, mayonnaise, Parmesan Cheese, 1 3/4 cup Monterey Jack cheese and Romano cheese together until well blended. Spoon into a 2 quart baking dish; top with remaining Monterey Jack cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes or until cheese is melted. Makes 8-10 servings.
Serve with tortilla chips, crackers, or I like the bagel chips
***Sometimes I change up the cheeses, substituting Mozzarella and others for the Monterey Jack. All are good but the Monterey is the best. I kid you not, even people who think they don't like spinach and/or artichokes will like these...and perhaps even love this.