Most of the time I forget about the life I kind of expected.
My dear friend, KFJ just sent me a great email...the highlights of their trip to family camp, something they've been doing for years. Our alma mater has a family camp like this one, and I had nearly forgotten that I had sort of pledged to myself as a dreamy eyed senior that I would make sure my family went to The Lair every year to be exposed to nature and to other families that loved their college and education. Silly maybe, but I loved the idea. I was always a Go Bears! sort of ambassador at Cal, and at the time could never imagine that the reason I wouldn't be going to family camp wasn't because we were working in France or Japan.. that the very reason for going to a camp like this would be the thing that stopped me...my kid.
So I forgot. KFJ's oldest daughter Papaya is Jake's age; almost exactly. We have a great(?!) photo of the two of them, Papaya sitting up so nicely, Jake being temporarily propped up by a Bobby so he doesn't take a header. I knew then that my kid was different. I knew, but it was watching my friend from college with her daughter that was just one more shocker that this life was going to be a lot different than I imagined.
but I forgot that too. Maybe that's a blessing of having a kid with weird sleep issues and the ability to nearly conk me out by accident just by getting out of the tub, perhaps the brutality of our daily living helps me forget, just as most women can't remember giving birth. If we remembered how would we do it again.. if I constantly remembered the loss how would I face tomorrow. And so I forget all of those little 22 year old fantasies. That's what they were any way.
We dream so we can set goals and start running.
But tonight I read the email (which I love.. so don't stop sending them Kung Fu...)
and I just wept as I looked at the slide show. Her beautiful talented, smart children looking at the camera, or smiling at their counselor. Performing at the talent show, swimming without diapers, riding bicycles, hell.. wearing a bicycle helmet. Jake won't even tolerate a friggin' helmet!
So I will wallow for a few minutes. It feels a little (okay a lot) indulgent. My child is alive and healthy. My son managed to get through IKEA twice this week, which is more than most kids can do. And when he hugs me I know he means it because it is so hard for him to pause and connect it is not out of guilt or direction; he is doing it to connect. And he smirks when his baby sister is a brat. And he tried to play cars with Sage's daughter the other day. So we are good. And school starts on Monday. And. And. And.
and I am sad. and I can't help it dammit. And envy is the ugliest sin I can ever imagine, and right now I want a little bit of what someone else has, and I hate HATE being the person who wants what others have because I already have so much.
I just wanted to go camping. I just want my children to take a picture together.
I just want to forget again.