Not more than a couple of weeks ago I was marveling over my survival of kindergarten. I had thought it would be like the first day back to work after having Briar, keening and begging. I remember trying to unearth what had to be a different reality, it couldn’t be possible that I was supposed to leave my perfect, vulnerable first-born with someone else. All day.
Five years later I can still see myself sobbing in a chair with my mom on the other end of the line. I was pleading with her to make it ok. I am not sure if I wanted permission to stay home or something else, but I sought an answer and solace that no one had. Now I find myself in a similar situation, this time it is bigger, the scope of my wishes.
Avery has been speeding right alongside Briar, with new mannerisms and preferences bubbling to the surface each day. Whether it’s her arms crossed, eyes wide, “That’s very inner-tresting,” or “Mom, can you just stop touching my hair now? I can kiss you to make you not sad,” I am in awe of her unstoppable self-discovery.
Finley is equally immersed in a full-throttle development, hers being both physical and intellectual. She longs to be as big and capable as her sisters, but protests vehemently is she feels at all displaced from her roost as the baby. She runs, jumps, claps and exclaims, but lingers with cuddles, “ode me’s” and “I wuh yuh’s.”
I am frozen by the way time is hurtling forward, lines blossoming across my face, all the while the girls’ faces become more chiseled and their flirtations and interests explode in waves away from me. Farther with each experience. We were in Connecticut a couple of weeks ago to visit family. We stole away to tool around New Haven. I hadn’t realized that visiting a place so dear to my grandfather would affect me so deeply.
It was a beautiful day, the girls were content and adorable sitting in the back seat with all manner of toy, snack and sleep prop imaginable. Sean and I were next to each other in the front seat, each of us entranced by the new sights and the overall beauty of the day— no deadlines, no chores, just the open road. I stuck my head out the window and made the girls laugh as I closed my eyes and drank in the timeless feeling of sun on my face and wind in my hair.
At one point I snapped a picture, and it is the looking at that picture that tortures me.
I know we don’t live forever. I know we have the best days of our lives and more. What I am having trouble managing is the idea that he is gone, that I will be gone, that time is marching on and that I don’t get freebie minutes to figure it out. No sooner have I made a mistake or forgotten something than I am forced to consider the next thing. Move on.
What if I move on after the wrong thing? How do I manage 3 perfectly distinct daughters? Control the fear when someone singles out one, or when I am frustrated with another? I am rambling here, I know. Rusty from too much time away.
It really comes down to this— I am a mom. A daughter. A wife. A sister. A writer. A runner. A goof. A sentimental. I fear being too misshapen by trying to do certain things well and allowing others to slide. I cannot be perfect, but sometimes, it feels like if I don’t try I am failing.
October will be here soon. It will be the month I try to focus more on living than dying. Come November I’ll give El Dia de Los Muertos its due, but for now it is on la vida. Mi vida.