Remembering to Say "I Love You"
I have rewritten this over and over.
I am sorry that parents lost their children. Sisters and brothers lost their playmates and grandparents lost their pride and joy.
And sorry is a horrible word. I am shattered, devastated, and a little hesitant about leaving the house. I have always been told that I am a very strong person but my children? If something happened to them I could very well end up hiding in a closet crying for an extended period of time. And that would be fine. Because parents never expect to lose their children. And it sucks that it happens. It sucks when it happens unexpectedly at the hand of someone else, it sucks when it's a terminal illness, and it sucks when it's an accident. Loss of children sucks. And the loss of folks who dedicated their life to helping children learn and grow? A hard pill to swallow.
This afternoon I was looking at the back of my toddler's head while she was watching a little Elmo. Her hair is fine and golden. She likes to twist it when she sleeps and it ends up dreading up a little in the back. She hates having her hair combed and it becomes an ordeal. One little lock of hair is longer than the rest and it hangs down the middle of her neck like a little rattail (remember the 90's)? I want to remember this.
Lately we have been just making it through the next hour, day, week here in my house. My husband was dismissed from his job in September after expressing ethical concerns about reporting at the substance abuse facility he was working at. This means that after being out of work for a bit he is now in a job with different hours, half the pay and I am with the girls a lot more now. Gone are dinners together, weekend day trips around the state, and anytime he's home I'm trying to scoot out to do some work to attempt to not sink us any more financially. Any time we do have together is spent attempting to figure out how to pay bills, gathering paperwork for whistle blower status (just trying to recoup what we lost out of our savings), and finding insurance.
With so much time solo parenting I feel like I'm missing out on moments. Instead of noticing how adorable the toddler is being by offering her sister a toy I am grumbling that she just woke up the baby to do it. The days before they go to daycare I'm counting down time until I can put them to bed and sit quietly for a few minutes, knowing the next morning I can bring them to someone else for a bit. And then there's rock bottom which is being upset with the toddler who has been burning through training pants this week. I'll spare you the details but let's just say stomach viruses can lead to confusing moments when you're barely potty trained. As I'm leading her up to the potty to clean her up and put a new pair on all I can think about is how they're 34 cents each and it is rapidly adding up.
This morning I sat down with Yasmina and we read. We read the whole time her sister was napping. Then I put her down for a nap and the baby and I looked at picture books. We looked at baby pictures of my son, who I can't hug right now because he's with his dad, and I can't believe how alike my biggest baby and littlest baby look. I want to remember all these details. How Yasmina's favorite thing is getting lotioned and powdered after a bath, how Hayla giggles at the word "Boing", and how my son likes to press his nose up against yours and look in your eyes.
After I put the girls down tonight I heard "Mommy, mommy" from upstairs. I went up as quickly as I could and unfortunately went into scold mold, "the baby just fell asleep, be quiet and go to sleep." Then I looked down into her crib and saw her chubby face looking back up at me. "I love you," I said. And I am so glad that I had the opportunity to say it to her, and so heartbroken that other parents won't have that chance.