not-goodbye and the infinite miles

Let's meet up, huh?

not-goodbye and the infinite miles
Photo by Nathan Duck / Unsplash

Hey friend.

First. If you are in the Denver Metro Area, I am going to be at Petals and Pages tonight (July 21st) at 6pm! I am talking with the PHENOMENAL Hannah Fergesen about their debut novel, The Infinite Miles. I would love, love, love to see you there! We can sit and visit and eat delicious botanical cookies. Bonus? The first THREE homeculture subscribers that come to the book talk and say, “Hey Meg!” get a copy of The Infinite Miles on ME. 

Next. I’ve been recovering from pneumonia, in the middle of a childcare gap while spending the past two weeks helping Margaret say goodbye to her best friend who, as of today, lives in Louisiana.

Being a goodbye doula for two fourteen year old girls is a huge honor, but it was also so painful it kind of took my breath away. (Well, that and the pneumonia. The pneumonia also took my breath away.) It’s very hard to find your people at that age. And it’s really scary to feel like you might be losing the ones you’ve found.

Goodbyes have always been really hard for Margaret.

When she was little, she would fall apart whenever we had to say goodbye to my dad. She saw him at least once a week, but I think she worried that each separation could be the last goodbye. So she’d just sit down and weep. Her little body shaking with sorrow. My dad was a very tender guy. He’d get tears in his eyes, pick her up and say, “Oh Margaret. This isn’t a goodbye, this is a not-goodbye.” It helped. 

By the time she was three and a half years old, they could part with just a few tears. He’d wave and smile, “Not-goodbye, Margaret!” And she’d wave back, crying but standing, “Not-goodbye, Papa!” When I had to tell her he’d died, she was only five years old. I tried to help her understand that this not-goodbye was going to feel a lot longer than the others. 

We still say not-goodbye in our house. I say not-goodbye to Brontë before I run errands, the kids all said not-goodbye to our dog when we had to board her at a kennel last month. And Margaret said not-goodbye to her friend at the airport today. 

When we got home, I had her look at calendar to start figuring out dates for when they can say ‘hello’ again. I’ve always wanted to go to Louisiana and now I’ve got a good excuse.

There’s not much to say about the childcare gap, other than that’s what happens in the summer sometimes. Riley booked all of our summer camps - it was basically three full days of work for him to get it done. Camps sell out quickly. The whole process is just so inefficient and stressful. 

Last year, I accidentally triple booked a week of camps. Which was…an expensive and depressing mistake. (That got fixed! But barely.) So when Riley took it on this year, I felt so much relief. He did an excellent job, with only four weeks of the whole summer uncovered. 

I know that I am falling victim to grind culture because I was really grateful I was sick with pneumonia for two of the weeks I didn’t have childcare.

Like, how lucky was I that my major lung infection coincided with my childcare gap? I mean, I wasn’t going to get much work done those weeks anyways! So if anything it’s like a blessing that I was very sick while I was caring for a kid, instead of being very sick when I could have been working! Childcare gap pneumonia FTW! You know?! 

Which is a pretty disturbing way to approach what I owe to myself, my work, my kid and you from like twelve different angles. Idk. Ambition came to me kind of late in life and I am trying to wrangle it. While wheezing.

I’ve got some great pieces coming out, including this Sunday’s piece about going to the Taylor Swift concert, propped up by steroids because of the pneumonia* and kind of … finding God there? I know. It sounds like a lot. And it is. So. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on Sunday. 

In the meantime.

Want to see Riley be the best dad ever, while I, a mere non-Swiftie, act as a witness? Here you go. Just click that little IG thing right there to see the cutest forking video of all time.

*I was not infectious. At any point! I checked with the doctor. I just have bad lungs that hate me. The doctor gave me the steroids so that my bonkers inflammation wouldn’t make me miss out on the biggest night of my eleven year old’s life. Also. The steroids didn’t give me roid rage…but they did seem to really remove my filter. As you can see here in this video about a really horrifying joke I made in front of Margaret. And yes, during my convalescence I started a TikTok? Idk. GRIND CULTURE, MAN. 

@_megconley Well, I guess me making that joke is just one more thing they’ll have to work through in therapy. Sorry to my kids. You’re welcome to their therapists’ billable hours. 🫡🤦🏻‍♀️ #parenting ♬ original sound - Meg Conley

If you’d prefer, you can watch me humiliate myself in the very same video on Instagram. Whichever! I am a multi-platform micro-influencer at your service! Ahem.

Today was the first day I was able to walk up the stairs without feeling like I needed to take a nap afterward. Which I think is a great sign for the rest of the summer summer. Let’s go.