It has rained all day.
It was a long morning of Audrey jumping off the couch onto a chaise cushion I put there for her. Then she discovered it was even more fun to watch mommy jump off the couch- so we did that for a while too. We were lucky to have a spontaneous visit from my childhood friend who brought pizza and pasta for lunch.
But by Audrey’s nap time, I felt wiped out and ready to be alone.
A new friend picked us up in the afternoon, in the pouring rain, and drove us to her home for dinner with her husband and the two children that were home. The home was lovely and to me, the quintessential “home,” so that was difficult, but Audrey had a nice time. I was thankful that the little boy who is Audrey’s age called his father “Da da” and not daddy or appa. Coming home at night when it was dark already was difficult. I realized as I was turning the lock that only I live here. I have a child, but I basically live by myself. That knowledge makes everything- turning the key, stepping inside, taking off my shoes- feel unfamiliar.
I started reading a new book today by a mother whose husband died on September 11th at the World Trade Center. It’s written as a guide for parents of children who are grieving, and her children were much older than Audrey, but it’s nice simply to read it and be reminded of how many other people have gone through what I’m going through…and lived to tell the story. If I did not read these things, I might believe that this grief will be the death of me. I remember telling Dan that when we lay in bed at night talking about who was going to die first. “If you died, I’d just die. I couldn’t go on,” I’d say. “I’ll die first,” I’d insist. “No, I will,” he’d say.
Speaking of lying in bed together before we fell asleep- there was a silly game we started playing about three years ago back when we lived in Brooklyn. One person would quickly give two choices on any topic and then the other person had to answer equally quickly the very first thing that came to their mind. For example, “Indian or Korean?” “Summer or Winter?” “House or Apartment?” We had a lot of fun playing that game- surprising ourselves and each other with the answers that we sometimes blurted out.
And that reminds me of a more recent game we played. I’d read about it in a book about creative mothering. You simply look at the other person and say something like, “Whatever I do I will not smile.” But when you put your face right in front of that person’s and say those words, it’s amazing how difficult it becomes to not smile. Dan always won that one. I laughed before I even got through the statement, but he was able to look me in the eye unswervingly.
He won the staring contests we had the same way. Those were never planned- they just happened- sometimes when we were fighting- we’d wind up having one to break the tension. I always lost.