i forgot that today was early pickup. i parked in the red, waving to her from the curb, her brother still strapped in the back. she ran to me, eyes dark and dripping. she feels things with tenacity. interprets my lateness as abandonment. even when i try to explain that i'm so, so sorry and i made a mistake and i didn't actually forget to pick her up...i was just late because i thought it was wednesday and not tuesday (because monday was a holiday and she didn't have school and we were so tired from the weekend and she stopped listening but i still kept talking.) i am torn in half and jagged at the seams. because sometimes my best still fails.
and yet...i know her. the slack is growing longer and looser. i feel the tides grip the line and i know that i have to lighten up on the slack or the line will snap and she will swim away with the current. i hear things she says and i don't always understand the context. i empathize with her sensitivity. i know that she feels things on a visceral level and that every slight (real or imagined) is a pinch sharp enough to bruise. i also know that i need to teach her the tools to deal with such emotions because walking around this earth with your skin inside out and stapled together haphazardly is a horrible way to be. i navigate the waters of her day with an almost privileged exasperation. because i know where she is at all times. because she is still so small and still needs me so much. because i am falsely confident in the way that feels.
i stopped writing because i felt as though i had no stories to tell that didn't have something to do with my children. or my self-doubt. or my pain. and those didn't feel like stories i should be telling. a friend, however, made me realize that my stories are more than that. that my stories are valuable. or at least might be. and that maybe my free writing is a time capsule that is worth more than the fear of not having something to say. that maybe, just maybe, not having something to say is worth questioning.