It’s my first night officially finished with the play. It won’t feel that different to us until Wednesday, I imagine, since Mondays and Tuesdays are always days off with this one. I want to watch Downton Abbey, I want to climb into a scalding bath, heck I even want to organize my desk a bit but none of it is as important as taking a few moments to write to you. While this is all fresh. So much happens in a day now with you in small but such significant ways–new words, new projects, new favorites–that I know 3 days from now I won’t remember what I wanted to say tonight. So here I am.
We made it through the show. I had an amazing time doing it–I wish you could have seen it, not that it would have made any sense for you to see it; it would have made no sense to you at all and I can imagine you howling “MAMAMAMAMAMAMAMAMA” from the audience as you had to stand on a chair 3x too big for you. But still, I wish you could have seen it. It was so much fun and I ended up being really proud of the work I did in it. Sometime you’ll come to the theatre so that when we talk about it you have a context. This one was too far away for it to make sense for me to drive you all the way down there for a quick hi only to have someone turn around and drive you back. One of the actresses in the show had her daughters backstage on a couple of shows—they’re older than you—and I daydreamed in the dressing room about having you sit in the wings with me and play with stage makeup and give me notes on how I could make my entrance better. I wonder if this will hold any interest for you or if your passions and creativity will take you in other directions.
I love you so.
It was harder in some ways doing this play than doing the one last year. You’re older now and much more aware of time, the rhythms and routines of your day–all of which get disrupted when I’m working–and can talk to me much more about how you feel about me leaving. That’s a blessing, as I want to know and pray that you always feel as open as you do now with me, and it also ripped my heart out of my chest on more than one occasion–having to walk out the door while you looked at me with quiet sad eyes or walked my boots back to the closet so as not to have me put them on.
I also know you did great. I know you feel loved. Not just by me, but by daddy, your grandmother, your babysitter. I know you thrived in certain ways, having more time to play with them in ways different from how I play with you. I know your world got even bigger these last 6 weeks. I had big fears some days: that you would be forming opinions that Mama’s work is more important than you. That Mama is capable of suddenly disappearing for long stretches of time that you didn’t see coming and do you have to be on guard for that. That you won’t trust me and won’t believe me when I say you are the most important thing to me ever. Period. I also hope that by working on projects I love I am modeling self-respect and care.
But here we are on our first day home together without impending departure on my part, and I am again struck by you, here, present. I don’t see hidden resentment when I look at you. I don’t feel like you have things you want to tell me that you’re choosing not to. I see my beautiful girl wanting to play, read, walk, talk, engage. I see you really really really happy to be with me, and I couldn’t hug you enough, couldn’t hold you close enough today. As it turns out we had a super-quiet time as you were hit with a nasty stomach bug over the weekend–Daddy and I have never seen you that sick–and while you were better today, you aren’t 100% and we spent a lot of time snuggled on the couch reading and sleeping. You did feel well enough to dance–though very slowly–to Ooby Dooby, your current favorite song, and to make a couple of tiny piles. They were not the mountains of your usual organizational projects, but they did communicate to me that you are on the mend.
Late in the afternoon we took a little walk and suddenly you were calling out the colors of the cars to me on the road. When we were playing in your room, little scenarios began between your animals—one wanted to nurse, one wanted to read, one wanted to grab fish from another one. You are turning to certain pages of your books and telling me what they say. I did notice the one you wanted to read most today is about baby owls waiting for their mommy who comes home. You turned no fewer than 6 times to the page where she returns and they all shout “MOMMY!” and dance and jump around. We’ve read this book a lot over the past few weeks and talked about mommies leaving and coming home. It seems you understand that we’ve made it to the Coming Home part…..
Many of your words have endings now–what used to be Moo and Bee and Fuh for Moon and Bean and Fun are now Moon-uh and Bean-uh and Fun-uh along with Gone-uh and Sun-uh, making you sound very Italian, which I rather love. Today you informed me you wanted to wear your Sweh-Shir (sweatshirt) and picked the one out from the back of the drawer that you had refused to wear last week. It seems I will not be the one deciding what you wear these days. You’re linking words with stories in our day–like if I say we’re going to the market you’ll say cart, berries, noodles (pretty much the only two things you care if I buy) and car, beep beep. When I told you I was leaving yesterday you said Theatre (though you pronounce it Fee-tah). I can’t keep up with the words you add every day; I don’t think I can fathom what is connecting in your mind. It seems like you love the world, and that is what I hope for you.
I hope you sleep til morning tonight since the past 2 have been so rough for you with this bug. I’m ready to be up with you , however, as many times as you need me and hold you and tell you that your body is healing as yucky as it might feel. I think I will get into that scalding bath now and spend a few minutes saying Thank You: for the play, for the support we had around it, and for the time I now get at home with my little (and biggest) love.