The other morning on an excursion to pick up some raspberry plants my 5 year old daughter said, “Mommy. Daddy is going to marry Estelle.”
I managed to say. “Really. Why do you say that?”
“Because she told me he was.”
My heart plummeted like a stone.
I croaked out. “That’s nice.” and then, “Look a sparrow!” And she was distracted long enough for me to collect myself.
NB: “Collect oneself” is such a nice phrase. It evokes a sensation of collapsing into a pile of skin and bones and organs, and simultaneously having to tidy the pile up and put it back together in human form.
Once my divorce is final, Estelle can be married to whoever she wants to be married to. I will be happy for all concerned.
But the thought of my kids cleaving to someone I will probably never know very well is a bitter pill.
The 5YOD is so very affectionate. She is always clambering into someone’s lap and insinuating herself under their arm, making herself a small cuddly nest to curl up in.
The space between my knees when I lie on the couch is a favorite place of hers. “Make a nest, mom,” she demands when she is already halfway situated, and then she tucks her head under my chin, curls tickling, and sighs deeply, contentedly.
*We ALL need to sigh deeply and contentedly MORE OFTEN.*
After she dropped her bomb, I sighed but it was more like an exhalation of deep sadness.
Change is hard.
It happens all the time and often we are not even aware of it. Like when you look in the mirror and notice that your roots are all grey. When did that happen? And laugh lines which are now etched. And those two vertical lines above your nose which my friend K used to call Kid 1 and Kid 2. And the difficulty the dog has going up stairs. Big changes, small changes, microscopic changes. Life.
But this is a change brought about by mine and my ex’s actions, changing our nuclear family into a complex Venn Diagram of shared custody and new partners and confusion about which house my son’s lunch box was last seen at.
As always when life perplexes me (which means almost ALWAYS) I reach for Mary Oliver. Let’s just see what she has to say about the matter.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do–
determined to save
the only life you could save.