Thursday, February 25, 2010
Some Things That Have Happened
Indy has stopped grabbing my cheeks, pulling me towards her, and kissing me full on the mouth. Something has ended.
Last night I lay in bed thinking about how I can't bear to look at Ayla's preschool pictures. (I haven't given you one because I can't look at them). I have unresolved grief about Ayla leaving preschool when we moved. I try not to think about Miss Isa and Miss Kim, and the kids with all the wonderful technicolor dream names--Tsinat and Jesus, Yuliana and Calan, Rinoa and Armon and Max and PawLawLah.I try not to think about what they're all doing without her.
I believe that the way to deal with sadness is to acknowledge and let yourself feel the sadness, without becoming embittered or trying to place blame. But I am not willing to let myself feel this sadness.
I shut it away again, just now.
I think about our old life, on Birch street. Walking to preschool. Walking to the park. Walking to the grocery store. Walking to Petsmart and Starbucks and Sunflower and Einstein Bros. All the lights off and the fans roaring and the smell of rain in the summer. The house chock full of spiders. The dryer in the garage. Waking to the smell of meat smoking on a bright morning. The terrible claustrophobia of winter, with a dirty carpet and no playroom and mud all over the floors.
I guess the goal is to get to the end of your children's childhood without totaling up a list of all the things you never gave them, you couldn't give them, you could have but chose not to, you should have but weren't capable, in your own messiness and imperfection. I should keep a running total of all the things I do give them, instead.
A list that should not focus heavily on treats and toys, but more on time and support, encouragement, recognition.
I see you, Ayla. Thoughtful and intelligent, my lover of words who tells me, when you're hungry, that you're 'wasting' and when you get pins and needles, your leg is 'sparkling'. I see you are like me, but not me.
I see you, Indy. I see that you are charming and stubborn. That you will always do just exactly as you please. I see that you are like your dad, but not your dad. Don't worry. You're not me either.
I tell you both this so that maybe, when you're fifteen, you can scream "I'm not you!" at me only once a week instead of once a day.
The other day Ayla pressed her bony shoulder into my chest, her version of a hug. I told her,
"Don't grow up, ok?"
But even if I could, I wouldn't hold her to it.