Summer is nearly done in this place that always feels like the sun. Margaret will go into the first grade at a public school. Something my homeschooling heart never wanted, but wandering head might require. We’re looking for schools for Viola, just a little preschool program two to three days a week. It’s time to start teaching her to walk away without turning around, I guess.
Fall makes promises even as I feel that the work I had to do for girls over the past few months didn’t quite get done. It was mostly repair work. Bringing us back together after months - really years - of traumatic farewells and moments when coping turned to tears or anger or laying down in an unmade bed.
I keep saying that Viola continues to become more herself. Little jokes and side eyes and sticky hands wrapped fiercely around my waist and arms and heart. She’s started calling me ‘mama’ and when I hold her hand she says, “Close it, mama. Close it.” Which means I am supposed to make my fingers and thumb meet across the top of her hand. A tight grip that she returns with squeezes and smiles. She is my girl that won’t ever want to let go.
Really, if I am being honest…Viola has been the most concentrated version of herself since she breathed into this world. I’ve just been distracted by survival for so long, I missed some of her. I’m fixing that, one long picture book read and run through the park at a time. She is being gracious in her acceptance of my penitent offerings. Three year olds don’t get enough credit, if you ask me.
Margaret has had the hardest time of the two. She’s felt the sea change and fiercely struggled against the waves, her body made bouyant by the two orange floaties inflated around her arms. It’s been a real act of courage, if you ask me. Before the move she turned to me when she got tired of paddling, since the move she’s turned into herself. It is difficult to know how much of this is the necessary independence of a deeply thinking six year old and how much is the unnecessary isolation of a daughter who feels misunderstood.
I’m being patient. I’m asking before I scoop her up and bring her close and smell the coconut oil on her skin. I’m being honest. I’m telling her it’s okay to feel confused or angry for no reason you can pick out of the sky. And I’m being hopeful. Because there are still mornings when she climbs in bed with me and drapes her arms and legs across me like we belong to each other.
The air isn’t any crisper, the leaves haven’t begun to change and the flowers keep blooming but I know this season is about to end. I feel the urgency in the things left undone and I feel the peace in the things made complete and I feel the promise of resolution in places I can’t yet see.
And so we live on in this little house like all the other little families living on in their little houses. And it seems like maybe, on the surface, there isn’t much special about the living. But on an early morning, with the babies still asleep and the husband long at work I can still feel the pulse of their hearts beating. It’s a rhythm that moves me from moment to moment until the pounding gets fierce enough to unite us with eternity. A restoration that can take its time coming, if no one else minds that too much.
I’ve still got some work to do here.