It's Thanksgiving and the house is full, both of people and the smell of roasted turkey. We loll back in our seats in that moment between being too full to move but too tempted by seconds (okay, thirds) to relinquish our half-empty plates.
She knows she has another brother, one she can't play with or see or talk to or torment. One who won't torment her back, the way her eldest brother does.
“He's in our heart,” she says, pointing to her chest.
“Yes, baby,” I tell her. “He's in our heart.”
“I'm not a baby,” she says forcefully. And she isn't, of course. She's four. But she doesn't only mean that she's too big to be called baby. She knows she'll always be my baby. Daddy's baby. Our baby.
The strawberries have going berserk in the front yard. The bean plant I unceremoniously ripped from one back yard container garden survived its relocation to the front yard as well and one long reaching vine climbs happily up a shepherd's hook I'd been keeping in my I swear I'm going to do something with that pile for years.
I'm early for my appointment so I sit in the waiting room. Usually I wait in the first floor lobby, alternately checking my phone and people watching until it's time to go upstairs for my session. I also hang back from the bank of elevators, waiting to catch an empty one. It's a busy building so I'm hardly ever successful, but still. I try.
I turn the key in the ignition and grip the steering wheel; ten-and-two, as always. I breathe. No, I heave. Sigh. In through the nose, out through the mouth.
Well, I try anyway.
I remind myself that this is a tight little spiral. Anxiety. Nothing is actually wrong. I haven't forgotten anything. Nobody is injured. I am just picking up my daughter from school, as usual. I am pulling away from the curb as usual. It is all okay.
The other day I sat down on my therapist's sofa and told her all about how great I have been feeling lately. She'd canceled our previous session due to a cold and while I'm always happy to have a day back from the clutches of soul jarring therapy, this was the first time ever that I was only grateful. Usually I love having that hour back in my life, plus the time spent commuting and coming down from all that vulnerability, but it comes with a price.
The end of last month was Christopher Robin's due date. Well, the fifth anniversary of Christopher Robin's due date, but you know what I mean. It was an anniversary that popped up on the calendar and I checked in with myself to make sure I was okay.
I was okay.
I mean, I wasn't excited about it or anything, of course, but I was okay. For reals this time. It came and went with me privately acknowledging the gravity of this missing space in my house, and then moving along with all of the fullness in my life.
I hurried up the stairs, knowing Ian was already running a little late. He is the one to get up with the kids in the morning, ushering Jonas off to high school in one piece before settling in for good morning cuddles with Iliana. They zone out on the couch together while I make my Walking Dead way out of bed. Eventually.
(It's pretty damn cool to spend your first waking moments knowing what a great choice you made in a husband.)
I have this recurring pain in my right leg. Electric jolts of nerve pain shoot back and forth between my lower back and the arch of my foot and my knees will buckle beneath me. It's really, really, awful.
For a long time I thought the pain might be the symptom of a tumor. I tried really hard not to breathe life into that fear, but still it burrowed deep in my brain. When I found a lump in the back of my leg, I freaked the hell out until Ian finally made me an appointment to get it checked out. I was both terrified and hopeful that my doctor would find something. Terrified because, OMG tumor. Please, please, don't let it be a tumor. Hopeful because please, please, let there be some reason for all of this pain.
I write another post about the complicated jumble inside my head and I pause. Do I really want to blog about all of this garbage?
Well, no. I absolutely do not.
I don't want to admit all of the stuff that I admit here. But it's more than that, of course. I don't want to have these thoughts, these feelings, to admit to.
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