The finger prints that cover my laptop screen have a story to tell. But I’m not listening. I tell them I’ll wipe them off later, when I catch up with life and have it all together. You know that time and place? We can all meet there when we find it.
I slink down in my chair as I type. This world’s beauty kept waking me up during my walk this morning with our caramel-colored pit bull, Captain. I strolled mostly in daydreams, but then a robin would wait until we were just upon her to move, or the light would reflect off the slowly moving creek. A flock of geese honked as they made a grid of the sky.
The smell of dog poop follows me, so I wipe down the fanny pack with disinfecting wipes and wash my hands. Captain’s been having digestive upsets and intestinal duress, and a very persistent case of worms he’s had since before he came to the Longmont
Humane Society. They thought they’d cured him, of course. And so did we. But persistence nature rewards in countless ways. So the Texas hookworms endure, and we treat them relentlessly, and we all evolve.
Captain is really Hannah’s dog. I’m an extended family caretaker, like grandma who takes an afternoon a week. Technically, I’m on the first a.m. walk Mon.-Thurs, and it used to be weekends more also, but lately mi hija has wanted to just stay put at her dad’s. (She spent the first three years following our divorce more with me, and wanted to switch it for this, her senior year.) She’s leaving home in less than four months for college now, and it’s wearing on her to also be alternating homes. I get it. And, it breaks my heart.
I do get to see her often: She and her dad (and Captain, who follows her) live just around the corner. I saw her this morning when I picked Captain up. She looks at me now with distance. The force of her will to emancipate seems strong. I try to take it in stride, though I miss her so much sometimes I ache all over.
Last night I spoke with my beloved, Christopher, about my sense of loss. He suggested I review the stages of grief. If I’m trying not to feel any of them, he said, I might get stuck there. We pretty much nailed it by the time we got to anger: That’s my least favorite emotion to feel. It’s like that one close friend you keep forgetting to invite to a party even though it’s obvious she belongs there.
When I feel into my anger, it soothes me all over. Of course I’m mad. I have devoted my entire life for 18 years to the well-being of this one human person, and her thanks is to depart. That, and to look at me sometimes like she’s trying hard to tolerate me. I’m furious, of course. Of course, I’m getting the short end of the stick. And even if it was the plan all along, and I’m supposed to be okay with it, I’m both hurt and angry anyway.
It’s like when my friend Trise took me to lunch when I was pregnant to warn me. “Everyone will tell you about the wonder of being a mom, all the joys. And it’s all that to have a child. It’s been one of the most meaningful experiences of my life.
“But I’m here to tell you what no one will tell you: Sometimes you will want to throw that baby across the room.”
I’m so happy for Hannah for growing up and taking off in flight and for all of who she is…and all that she’ll become.
And you know, it’s easier to feel delight for her now that I’ve allowed myself to simmer with fury. What kind of a trade off is this anyway?
One that, in the end, we’d make again and again.