Sometimes my kids do things that make me think of my Dad and I try to react with a smile and a warm memory before the pain in my heart reminds me of how much I miss him.
These slow pop-up moments are easy to process, to deal with, to push away.
But then – sometimes – they just jump up, smack you in the face, and rip out your heart.
Like when Nikki says, “I want to have a little sister some day.”
And I look at her and wonder Does she know? because the timing is so odd. But of course she doesn’t. And then she asks, Do you think you’ll have any more babies, Mom? And the crack in my facade goes deeper and my composure begins to shake. I take a deep breath and I muscle through.
Daddy and I would love to have more babies, Nikki. But it’s hard for my body to have babies. We worked really hard to have you and Wes and if that’s all we have, we’ll feel lucky.
And then I go to take out the half-full garbage. Just for a moment alone.
And of course the kids follow me out the door. Talking about the old sidewalk chalk and the bubbles and wondering when the leaves will be off the trees. All the while the dam in my heart is cracking underneath the pressure of my grief and all I want to do is sit down in my driveway with the bag of garbage in my hand and cry until I can’t cry anymore.
But I muscle on. There’s always plenty of time to cry. I’ve found through my latest foray into insomnia that the nights are long and lonely and offer plenty of room for tears to be shed. So I take a deep breath, I smile at my kids, and I know that I’ll spend time later crying for the children I’ll never hold.