This morning, Evaline broke a bowl, split it down the middle in two while attempting to refill it with Goldfish. Lila held the pieces together and announced she could fix it. But, you’ll still see the crack, she said, showing me the damage.
It was the final straw for a week of attempts and failures.
April vacation, you win.
I had planned to ignore you, to squeeze in daily school work and catch up on all of the slack that I’ve been giving.
But, then, the door has been knocked on daily by neighborhood friends who are free for the week. And then, it rained for two days and my children want to do what we all want to do when it rains so much, sit and read or watch a movie.
And, then, I found an old CD of pictures from when we were only a family of three, not six, from before we were “we” at all.
And so, if you insist.
Sure. I’ll pour the coffee.
You work on taking your saggy gray clouds out with you as we close the door and head into May and hope for spring (like, real, spring. I’m talking flowers and temperatures above 50.)
So, here I am, sifting through years worth of pictures, so many out of focus or inane or redundant. So many that still make me smile.
There are pictures of stargazer lilies and Valentine’s dinners that set off the smoke alarm. There are pictures of goofiness, of silly faces, of day trips and bath times in the sink with a very unhappy Alexander. There are pictures from the months that we lived in uncertainty and in the graces of my parents, a young family unsure of what would come next.
And then, there’s also this:
This was Thanksgiving weekend, 2005. It was week after my second miscarriage. It was the week I was questioning everything I had trusted about my body. It was me, curling up into bed with Alex, closing my eyes, and seeing the ultrasound of a perfectly formed little baby in the blackness. No heartbeat.
This morning, here, in 2014, knowing how the story continues on, knowing that one year later, there would be Lila, then Asher, and eventually Evaline. I am often so busy that I don’t think much about that month, that week, that day.
But, seeing the picture, just one in a pile of others, just one quick image stuck in the middle of hundreds, filed away between Vinnie making funny faces and Uncle Ken folding up his eyelids – it’s as though a breeze has blown in and I’ve caught the chill of it. The past.
And, despite years of moving forward, despite three more pregnancies, three more children, despite a life so full that there are moments when I can’t even begin to gather it all into my heart – it’s still there. Though I’ve often written it off just something from my past, something WE are past. Today, I realized it (all of it – the emotion, the disbelief, the sadness) is as easy to return to as photograph.
I know it will pass as the day goes on, as I’m distracted by kids running around with blankets tied around their shoulders, leaping from furniture, announcing their super powers. It will fade away, while loading the dishwasher, while spreading peanut butter on slices of bread for lunch. It will become, as it has been, a shadow in the back corners of my memories. A badge on my heart, bearing a name unknown.
There will be, has already been, a lifetime full of birthday parties, Christmas mornings, snowmen in the yard, springtime dandelion harvests, sunsets over calm waters, barbecues on sweltering July afternoons, long late nights of board games and laughter, kitchens filled with crayon drawings and construction paper scraps, summer evening bonfires, firecrackers, impromptu dance parties, group hugs, mud puddle stomping, and on and on and on.
Life moves forward, it has already, it will still.
But, this loss, and the one before, that for a moment in my life, brought me to my knees – it’s an unchangeable part of me. Pick me up, put me back together, but it’s still there, and always will be.
I’m a broken bowl, and you’ll always be able to see the crack.