Monday, May 3, 2010

The Joneses.

Just the other morning, entirely unprompted by me, Lily wandered over to a photo of me and Alan together, took it in her hands and kissed him . I caught her in the act and a wave of love and happiness and sadness washed over me. Could she, does she know who he is? I think so. It has to be that way. And surely he knows his daughter.

As I near the second anniversary of Alan's passing I realize more and more that year one was loaded with grief but the day to day goal was just coping and survival. Fighting to get from one day to the next, straddling medical bill and insurance settlements, estate issues, and a pregnancy. Now, with much of that behind me, I am often sapped with heavy sadness. I think so much of it has to do with seeing Lily develop into the amazing person that she is - with every new move there is one set of admiring eyes missing. He must be watching. He has to be. Because I think Lily can feel him. There are times when she points into the air just past me and is fixed on something I cannot see. She babbles into the air, at something I am sure.


There is a family that lives down the hall from us, around the corner. And just as Lily and I finished playing with their kids in the hall last week, I heard their dad make his grand entrance home at the end of his workday. Their front door closed shut and I could hear the screams and yells of delight over his arrival. They were ecstatic, and his bellows in response echoed down the hall. I had to carry Lily back toward our apartment, as she reached, arms outstretched for theirs - all the while whispering in her ear that she had a dad too, he just doesn't come home in the same way.

And now she knows how to knock.
So when our front door opens, she's off - out of the starting gate, making a beeline for their door. She knocks on it, it opens and in she goes without even a look back to me for acknowledgement. Smiling, I apologized, as she did this a few evenings back (for the second time that day, I'm told) and before I could catch up to her she had made her way into their apartment and straight through to their master bedroom where kids and dad were lounging on the bed spending their evening hours together. Their mom said "Say goodnight to Lily guys", they did, and up she came into my arms. I apologized again, feeling as though we had invaded a family time that was not ours, smiled sheepishly and carried our girl home. Do they know she has a dad? Do they wonder where he is? What do they think of us...

Oh the pain.
Still so excruciating.

And yet our hours together are filled with smiles and laughter, all she really knows is joy. And that, fills me with happiness. But Lily loves other children and is often much more at ease in the arms of a new man than a woman she already knows.
Wish Alan could hold her. She isn't one for stillness these days but in his arms, I know, she'd be perfectly at rest.

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