I wrote this on Friday, but it took me awhile to be able to put these thoughts into words….
Or so they say. What is it supposed to feel like though? Today the little one got home for her week at her “Momma house” (her other home is “The Daddy house”) with kisses and hugs and snuggles for me, Bubby, and the dogs. She was oddly quiet and withdrawn: Aloof you could say. Not her usual bouncy, squirmy, can’t sit still with excitement self. She told me about her week and trick-or-treating with Daddy. We talked about the dance at school and the books she read. She laid her head on my lap and snuggled her favorite bear- Present Bear, a surprise gift from Daddy one day when she was only 1 that she still won’t sleep without when she is home, and asked me if there were any pictures from”when my Dad and you loved each other”. Of course there are. After the shit hit the fan and we went our separate way I did what every hurt girl does and removed all traces of him from my walls and photo albums. I put a picture in each of the kids rooms of them together where they belonged and I pretended I was saying good riddance to the rest of those pictures with so many memories attached to them. I then, in a typical fashion of someone not ready to say good bye, put the most special photos – some of us, a few of just him, some of him and the kids, in a box with a few cards and notes and the few pieces of jewelry and put it away in the bottom of a drawer. I told myself they were for Ryleigh when she got older. Then I forgot it was there. I guess today she’s older. I guess that explained her mood. She was finally ready to ask for evidence of her life before. I asked if she remembered when Daddy lived with us. She said no. She only knows from pictures and none of the picture she sees at my house have me AND Daddy in them, and at Daddy’s there aren’t even pictures of me (not a surprise). So with a sigh and a pain in my heart, the box came out and the memories came back shooting through me like hot gun fire. I was able to hold back the tears that seemed inevitable and explained each picture requiring me to remember things best forgotten. She asked if she could have one of he and I together for her room. Hesitantly, I of course said yes. She chose a picture of us from before she was born: oddly she was in the picture but none of us knew it at the time. I don’t even recognize the people in the photo. The girl looks happy and unconcerned with anything, she looks comfortable with herself and unafraid. The boy looks strong and brave: Unfettered by life. He has his arm around her: not posed thats just where it belonged. They were happy. Little one selected a frame from the 20 extra ones I had in the closet and placed the photo in it gently, almost as if she was afraid of hurting the two people who no longer exist captured in it. She looked at me and asked if it looked okay. It did. She said we look different now. Older? I laughed. No, she said, “it’s your eyes Mom, your eyes are different now and Daddy doesn’t smile that like now, his smile has changed…I guess everything changed since then.” It certainly has. Then she asked the question I was dreading, have been dreading since she was old enough to form questions in her mind. “Did you love each other very much Mom?” Yes. Then, “Why did you stop?” Things just changed sweetheart, we both changed: grew apart and wanted different things. “I don’t think so Mom. When you love someone you love them always. Maybe you were wrong?” Maybe. Probably. “Love isn’t supposed to make us sad Mom, is it? You told me that.” No, Love isn’t supposed to feel like that. “You mean like this. It still feels like that doesn’t it?” Yes. “I wish it wouldn’t Momma. Your eyes looks pretty when they smile. They look like mine see! look in the picture!” I hadn’t noticed the similarity before. Funny, I always looked at her eyes and saw me there, but I wasn’t sure how I fit in. Now I see it. My happiness lives in her eyes. I told her that she makes me happier than anyone else and that was all I needed. I told her she was my best friend, that the love from her and her brother were enough. It is. For her, I will make my eyes smile always, because she right: Love isn’t supposed to feel like that. I guess I just don’t know what it feels like at all. Maybe someday I will.