We were busy today. I had more blood drawn this morning for more tests and then took the kids to a Summer Sounds concert in Hollywood. We played a bit in the park next door with one of Isabel’s friend’s family and then headed home. Thomas refused to nap so we got back in the car after I made a phone call and replied to an email (emphasis on one phone call and one email because even that is a lot for one day these days) and went to the bank, the optometrist and to the store.
The second half of the day was particularly fun: Little Rascal purposely poured his water all over the bank floor and then screamed when I took his bottle away; Isabel ran away from me at the mall for fun and then (after I told her not to) let Thomas out the mall doors while I tried picking up my watch, at which point I shoved my stroller and purse away and ran after him before he could reach the street – he then screamed when I strapped him into the stroller; I had to make a return at another store and when trying to put Thomas back into the car to go home he hit me in the face and started screaming again; after driving through bad traffic we finally got home and he was still screaming.
I could not lock him in his room to cry to himself so I locked myself in mine and, yes, he continued to scream.*
After 10 minutes I finally gave up, opened my door, picked him up, sat on the floor and then held him in my arms while he cried about his “hu(r)t.” And here comes another grey hair. Sigh.
And yet through all this screaming there was a moment of calm, of reflection, of perspective, of remembering, of grace. As we drove home for the day, while the windows were down, while Thomas cried, while the music played, Isabel said, “I miss my sister.” Despite the traffic I looked back at her and said, “what, Love?” “I miss my sister.” I faced forward and said “I miss her, too.” She continued louder, “No, I said, ‘I want to visit my sister.'” “Oh, okay, well, we can go tomorrow.” And she responded, “No, I want to see her today, I want to see her now.” I was not sure what to do.
I love that she calls “Strawberry Shortcake” her sister, that she acknowledges she has a sister, that she does not deny having a sister. I wondered how I could foster this and say the right thing. We just visited her yesterday and now we had to get ready for dinner. “What makes you want to see her right now?” I asked. She replied while staring out the window, “I want to play with her.” And my heart just sank. I was not sure what she meant and wondered if this is what others meant when they said little kids don’t understand the permanence of death. And not knowing what to say I asked, “You want to play in the cemetery?” “Yes, I want to play in the cemetery.”
I love her. She had this year-long dream to have a baby sister and when she got one, she was the most excited girl in the world, bragging to her friends and cousins about her baby sister. And through this all she has been so wonderfully cool. I love, love, love her.
*And I love Thomas and his crazy high-pitched-screaming-made-better-with-his-adorable-face, too.