It’s the first Saturday in May. For anyone from the state of Kentucky or anyone who has lived in the state of Kentucky, it’s just known as Derby Day.
For the past seven years, we have hosted a big Derby Day party. It’s our biggest party of the year. Usually there are around 30 people. The women wear hats. We serve tons of food. We drink bourbon slush. Oh yeah, there is a horse race, too. A few weeks ago Tywana asked me if we should have the party this year. Normally, she would have already been in planning mode, fine tuning the guest list, making the menu, driving to Kentucky to get the Derby plates and cups since they don’t sell them in Ohio. But this year Derby Day is one day before Mother’s Day. And this Mother’s Day is the first with Shayna being in spirit. Every holiday for the next month or so is the first without her physical presence. She will not be here to hover over the food, hog all of the deviled eggs, try to hide to get out of work. When Tywana asks me about whether we should have the party, I really don’t care one way or the other. We both love hosting people. Even though the party is a lot of work, we look forward to it. Tywana preps for days. She asks “What if I’m having a bad day though? I really don’t want to commit to having people over.” My advice is this. Mother’s Day is going to suck regardless. There is nothing that we can do about that. Maybe the day before will be hard too, but it can either be spent sitting around with nothing to do, just thinking about how we would have been having the party today or we can spend it doing something to keep us occupied. I can understand if she doesn’t have the energy for the party. It’s exhausting in a good year. And, I’m perfectly fine with skipping it. However, I think it would probably be good for her to have it. The choice is hers. I tell her to not answer now but to take a couple of days to think about it. Two days later she comes back to me. She wants to do it.
Like every other day I wake up between 6:00 and 7:00. I decide to sleep in till 7:00. Like every other day, Shayna is the first thing on my mind. I never want to forget her. I miss her more than I can express. Every day I wish I was with her. Every day I marvel that I made it this far. I pray for strength. I tell her I love her and I brace myself to get through the this day. Every single day.
So, it’s 7:00 Saturday morning, Derby Day. In keeping with tradition I’ve done no prep but the shopping. I have this thing timed perfectly. I have to go out and get a few more items. Then I need to start the barbecued beef and get the burgoo on.