May 23, 2015
The water bottle is crinkling. Around it, conversation is soft, muted, somber– but there’s no volume control on plastic. I turn to look at the small hands holding the bottle. He’s balanced in his mom’s arms, joyfully squeezing sounds out of the bottle. I smile at his mom, and then I make eye contact and smile at the little one.
He grins, looks back for a solid second to make sure I am watching, and then throws the bottle on the ground with the triumph of a touchdown.
His mom starts to pick it up, shifting his perch to her hip so she can navigate, but I wave to her to stop. I bend down quickly to grab it, faster without a child in hand– and she smiles, apologetic.
I smile at her, then look at the little one for a solid second, reaching my hand out as if to give him back the bottle. Then, when I am sure I have his attention, I slam the bottle to the ground.
His mom’s eyes are shocked, then amused. His eyes are completely baffled until the humor sets in, and then we laugh. All three of us.
My laugh is the kind you can feel squeeze itself out of your heart. The kind that you wouldn’t be able to suppress anywhere. The sun is shining bright and it is warm, and I think that this might just be a perfect moment– a perfect representation of the person I am and my place among those I love.
It is a joyous two minutes.
It is in the middle of my husband’s funeral reception.
March 4, 2018
My phone makes a particular sound when my family calls. It woke me up this morning, and entered me into a video chat with seven different feeds.
Today, as usual, my family is scattered throughout the country. We’re meeting through this clunky medium because there’s things that need to be worked through. We’re trying to make some decisions as a group.
We talk a little bit about letting go. Sometimes you can hear my parents in our voices– a cross between Mamasaur’s new age soothing and my dad’s academic matter-of-facting.
Here’s how to let go and embrace the new shape of us; item A….
Perhaps closure is something we can lend to one another; see page 4.
We get distracted, we always do. Apparently there’s feral hogs in Texas that are causing quite a stir. Koala moms feed their babies their own poop.
Bananas are berries, I add to our factoids, but my brother hears that “Pandas are fairies”, and he gently reminds me that it doesn’t count as fact. Everyone else has heard this, too, and thinks it’s completely normal that I might think that pandas are fairies.
I laugh. It’s the sort of laugh that bubbles up from your core. The sort that sounds rusty like maybe your body is a wand and you haven’t cared for it as well as you could have. The sort that sounds like who you were yesterday. This is a perfect moment. A moment that reminds me of my place in things, and who I have always been.
The laughter pulls us calmly back into the conversation like a warm wave.
We decide to scatter my dad’s ashes in the ocean.