Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Begin. Again.

School has begun.

A new one.

It's got old footprints, and now hers.
And with echoes of Alan in the halls, as I imagine she imagines, the book finally out, and a change in the air, it's launched us both into Emotional Overdrive.

New places, new faces - for both of us.

This time of year is tough for me.
Another first and I don't have my man here as I'd like him to be.
As he wished to be.
Going through the motions.
With me.
The meetings, the welcome nights, the conferences,
new kids, new parents.
Hanging in the halls, the school front, the playgrounds.
We never got to experience any of those together.
The fun, excitement, milestone tears, nervous anticipation,
co-parent participation.
Didn't get there -

Way shy of the starting line.

It is hard being
Very hard.

And Lily's missing it, him too.

But she's taking it all in stride like she always does.
Only shows her cracks at home.
Saves them for bedtime and too-early-mornings.
And man is she doing alright.
I am proud because she too has much on her mind.
And I have to remind myself
when moments are beyond trying for me,
that for her,
Big Challenges for a Little Heart.

Just the other night:
Who else doesn't have daddies?
Well, William, Nikhil, Abi - they have daddies but they're not here with us like other dads.
What was daddy doing when he died?
Sleeping, Pumpkin. He was sleeping.
Where was he?
At a place like a hospital with doctors and nurses.
What was he in?
What do you mean Pumpkin?
What was he IN? Frustrated, angry..
I'm not sure, I said softly.
Can you run when you die? Walk? Swallow?
No Pumpkin, you can't.
Where do you go?
I like to think they're in our hearts, their spirits all around us.
Are you going to die, Mama? I don't want you to die when I'm young.
No, Pumpkin, I don't think so. I hope not, most people die when they're very very very old.
How did you meet daddy?
At a restaurant.
What was it like? How?
You know how when you make a new friend, like Jake - and you know from the second you meet that you're going to be really really good friends for a very long time?

With that, she sobs.
I want you to go, Mama. Said quietly, from under her pillow.
4.5 she is.
Once she quiets, after multiple checks, I cover her up.
Kiss her cheek.
Savor it's softness.
And marvel at how she's gotten so tall, so big, mature.

Heavy with sleep.

And then I exhale with my own sobs,
do the dishes,
go to bed.

But the next morning comes and she climbs into bed.
I love you, Mama.
I love you, she says.