It's evening and I can see my reflection in the glass of the window. My hair is too short. I wasn't brave enough for this before. I used to have hair that was heavy on my back, a constant pressure between my shoulder blades. Now I am made of new skin. I'm brushed and pink and wearing sensible shoes. I very seldom come home with mud under my nails.
Scout and Daddy are writing check lists in the living room. Kurt writes down a series of shapes and objects for Scouty to find around the house. Scouty just writes her name seven times along the side of the paper and checks it off.
She pretended she was me, this afternoon. She called me "honey" and "daughter." She chewed on the end of her pen and scribbled on my grocery pad, mumbling under her breath things like, "Eggs, okay, we have eggs. How about milk? No, I already wrote milk." She said to me, "Honey, remember how I showed you how to cook waffles? Could you make one for me, your mother?"
Only, when she says mother, it sounds like mudder.
I feel like I barely remember them as babies. What did it feel like to press their soft little faces to my breast? Louise couldn't bear to be away from me, not even for a few minutes. I would pull over to the side of the road and walk around the car to get to her. My throat would be burning and I opened her door and leaned in, wrapping my arms clumsily around the car seat. I tried make myself small enough to fit there, next to her. I closed my eyes and nestled against her tiny little throat. She suckled on my chin. The world went by outside and we were quiet.
That was as close as we were going to get anymore, kid. I wanted her that desperate way, too. I cried in the picture window until I thought I would never breathe again, the first time she went visiting without me.
Grandma's house isn't so far away, now. There is space between us. Sometimes it still breaks my heart to think of my baby sleeping all alone through the long, dark night. Sometimes she still belongs to me, but I know. I know all about the world and how it's terrible and it will break her heart. I also know better than to keep her from it. I would be a sorry old liar if I believed the heartbreak wasn't worth it. The world is big, but it's all there is, too. There is sunlight and water, too.
There are giant pines that border our back yard. There is so much to see. There is death and there are mornings that felt like they would never come, and there is love, too.
Today's post is a link up with Heather of The Extraordinary Ordinary's Just Write. If you want to join in, write something about the details of your day and link up! Be sure to read a few other pieces and get to know some great new writers in the process.