The drive back from Vegas is a long one. About six hours without stopping. We got back an hour and a half ago but I still have massive amounts of caffeine flowing through me and creating a lot of thoughts. I wish I could sleep. I don’t get to sleep more than a few hours each night so it’s frustrating when both kids are asleep and I can’t shut off my brain.

One of Denny’s old friends texted me earlier today and I just finally read it. She had a dream about him. So many people have shared things like this and I savor them all. I want to know if he’s trying to “send a message,” or “let us know” something. It would be great if he’d just slam a few doors or flicker some lights like a Casper the ghost type thing, but I guess that’s not his method. He always was unconventional.

She said he’s happy. She knows he is. This made me cry. Sometimes I feel him but it’s less as time goes on. It’s almost like I get so focused on the tasks at hand and managing the chaos that has overtaken my life that I forget what has really happened.

As I was driving home, I got pulled over. I was speeding on the freeway. It’s REALLY hard to drive for six hours of nothing –while listening to Elsa letting it go for the fourteenth time– without speeding.

The highway patrol woman was very nice and professional despite it being midnight on a night where she’s probably had to deal with a bunch of rowdy teenagers coming from graduation parties. She gave me the speech, went to her car, and came back a few minutes later with a warning.

I began to sob. I feel dumb, but I totally sobbed. I can’t afford a ticket right now. I don’t have time for traffic school. She doesn’t know that I just did something way out of my comfort zone and took my kids to a big city for a getaway. She doesn’t know that I’ve been holding my pee for hours because I’m chugging caffeinated beverages but also trying not to stop because I have to take two babes into the gas station late at night by myself. She doesn’t know that my 3 year old is scared of cops because they “made mommy cry” when they came to tell me they had found Denny. She doesn’t know that today would have been full of flowers and chocolates and a fancy dinner with my husband on an Alaskan cruise. [Did I mention that? Apparently Denny was planning an Alaskan cruise for our fifth anniversary. He had my sisters planing on watching our girls for it.] She doesn’t know that I’m heartbroken today that I don’t have him here, but I’m also trying to move forward and be strong and build a positive happy life.

That woman showing some kindness and sending me off with a warning reminded me of where I am and what I’m doing. It made me sad about what I’m missing and who should be here with me. It made me happy that I could get a little freebie and made me feel like God is helping me out. Does that sound cheesy? Well it’s true. It reminded me that God is guiding me. How dumb is that. That getting off with a warning and not a ticket reminded me that God is in the details and is going to make up the difference for me.

On my way home I saw a big truck that had “DENNEY” painted in big letters. It was “Denney Transportation” or something. Not spelled like my Denny. But it made me smile. The next truck said “GRACE” in equally big letters. This also made me smile. Winnie’s middle name is Grace. Denny always told people it was because of one of his favorite Cubs players, Mark Grace. But really it was because I love the name and the meaning and the sound of it with her first name (which is really Gwendolyn). But what I love most about it is what I believe is God’s grace.

I believe God will make up the difference. If you don’t believe in God, like I do, place “Universe” or whatever else in there. But I believe that while I’m doing my best, God, and my Savior will make up the difference. He will make up what I can’t as a single parent fighting all of the statistics and stigmas and struggles we now face. I’m doing my best but I know it’s not enough on its own. So with the help from above, my angels, and my people here on earth, I feel like it’ll be okay.

I don’t always feel this way. But that patrol woman’s little act of giving me a warning has made me feel that tonight. Great job patrol woman. No seriously though. You people are heroes.

And now, if this Diet Coke and anxiety of single parenthood will wear off a little, hopefully I’ll get some happy sleep tonight. And maybe Denny will visit me in my dreams. Or flicker some dang lights. It really would make my life a little easier. Dangit Denny.

Oh. And some scantily clad dressed up woman gave Winnie a feather off of her super scandalous outfit (there aren’t many of them out during the day in Vegas but we did run into a few). And now Winnie cherishes it like it’s the best thing she’s ever been given. So I don’t know what to think about that.

One thought on “Caffeine and Cops

  1. Dani…you are amazing. You have a way of drawing us in and feeling what you’re feeling (at least a little bit of what you’re feeling). Those sweet baby girls are so blessed and very lucky you are their mommy. A lot of these memories will fade in time for Winnie especially and because of you…..their lives will be wonderful!
    Through all of your own pain and loss and even anger… somehow have the wherewithal to be the best mom for these babies. I can’t imagine the effort that it takes when, I’m sure there are days you just want to curl up in a ball and try to sleep away your reality……but instead you are there 100% for those sweet girls. I am amazed at your determination to make life as “normal” as you possibly can for your family. I love you and pray for you daily.

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