07 December 2009

Days Like This

Some days, it's so easy. Some days, I pick the kids up from a full day at preschool, and they are happy and sweet, and they have taken a nap, and they run to me full of smiles and tales of their play. Some days, we run into the dad of Maddie's best preschool friend, and we talk about his son's upcoming birthday and how much fun it will be, and we say "Adios! Hasta maƱana!" to the teachers and then when we have to go back twice for things we forgot, it's funny rather than annoying despite the bitter cold.

Some days, we listen to Sesame Street for the 50,427th time and sing along and smile like it's the first time we've heard it. And when we get home, we listen through to the end of the song, and then we go up the back stairs because the lock has been sticking in the front door, and even though we're doing something out of the norm, no one freaks out. Some days, we get inside, and coats and shoes come off and get put away, and puzzles are done while I cook dinner and we transfer laundry from the washer to the dryer together, as though there were nothing more entertaining on this earth to do with our time.

And then we eat, peas and pears and macaroni and cheese from a box, then some corn by special request from Riley, and after every bite of peas, we high five about how much they have made our bodies grow and be strong. Some days, kids practice their letters in their books from Auntie Mim while I do the dishes, and with dripping hands, I walk from kitchen to dining room to proclaim the perfection of each of the traced letters as they are made. Then we retrieve the dry laundry and put on pajamas and watch a show and read books and brush teeth and go through the endless steps of the bedtime routine.

And at the end of that routine, on some days, I want to stay in that moment, in that room, in that snuggle for just a little longer. I sniff the soft skin of toddler necks, I give one more kiss, I nuzzle one more nose, and I tell them how wonderful they are and how much I love them.

And while I do that, on some days, on this day, I think about their father. I think about how today, he would be 37 years old. I think about how nice it would be for him to be here to see the perfection of his children. I think about how nice it would be to share life's duties with a partner, and to go to bed with someone I know and love and trust, someone who wouldn't care that I put my fleece pajamas on at 5:30, someone who would spell me from packing another preschool lunch, someone who would kiss me and tell me that I'm beautiful, someone who would talk me into—or out of, depending on the night—another glass of wine, rather than to go to bed alone.

Some days more than other days, the easy days, the days like this, I miss John profoundly. Because this is what he lost, these days, these easy days, these days that are all love and earnest toddler joy.

This is what he lost.

36 comments:

amyinbc said...

I am so sorry for what you ALL are missing but so proud of you for marching on and making a wonderful life for your gorgeous kids.

You are a strong woman Snick, you have to be to have endured so much and made the many changes you have.

I admire you greatly and only hope I could be as strong as you in similar situations.

Without sounding intentionally sappy, as a mom of twins and an older son I really admire your tenacity and ability to carry on..

You have done so well Snick. Be proud.

BiancaW said...

Shew! I just got a massive lump in my throat from that! I am not sure how you do it. I admire you SO much.

I am so sorry that you are missing John. I am so sorry that you have had to endure this. I just am. Sorry!

cv said...

Sounds like you celebrated john's birthday in the exact way he would have liked. Sorry we couldn't be there to build gingerbread houses with you. We got maddie's letter today - so much fun to get. N stored it 'in the shoe bucket so I can have it for school tomorrow too.'

Sending hugs.

Kathryn said...

Hugs & admiration & a few prayers for good measure.

Samantha said...

Beautifully written.

Emily said...

What an amazing post - shows how you appreciate what you have, love what you have, have a recognition that John lost something and that you lost something and your kids lost something, too. Wow. Wow.

Jen said...

Ah, beautiful. And so true. The hard stuff, when the car breaks down, or the child is sick, are things to grit your teeth and get through. I wish he were here to help me, but he's not missing out on anything good. The easy, sweet, wonderful days are what he really lost, what John lost, what you and Maddie and Riley ache to share with him.

spoiledonlychild said...

Your night with John might have been like you imagine. Or you might have bickered over who would pack the lunches and do the dishes. One of you might have felt resentful, because you felt you were doing more than your fair share. John might have been in a grumpy mood because of a bad day at work. He might have complained about the way you loaded the dishwasher rather than telling you you're beautiful... I don't belittle your loss one bit, but maybe it will help to remember that a spouse doesn't always make things easier or happier. Sometimes he is just a pain in the ass. :)

Lyn said...

What a beautiful and heartbreaking post. This is a really tough time of year for widowed people. I know because my husband died 6 years ago and even though my toddler is giddy about Xmas for the first time ever, I wish we could just skip it. Thank you for sharing these birthday thoughts - they are moving and bittersweet.

And my guess is that commenter "spoiledonlychid" is not a widow, because she missed the whole point completely. I could go on, but it will just depress me, so I will just say, UGH!

Snick, you and your family are in my prayers. God bless.

cindy w said...

I'm so sorry for what John is missing, and for what you, Maddie & Riley are missing too.

Anonymous said...

Oh, how my heart breaks for your loss. I pray that there are many Angels looking out for you, Maddie and Riley this holiday season.

CKD from Chicago said...

Beautiful post. You're such a good mother and John would be so proud of you. Hugs, thoughts and prayers sent your way.

Stacy said...

Beautiful post. I can so relate to the "days like this" thought process.

Mama Nabi said...

*hugs*

Amber said...

What a beautiful post. And such a nice tribute to John on his birthday. He would be so, so proud of the amazing job you're doing being a mother to his children. Sniff, sniff.

Sonya said...

Lovely post. Yes, he lost it. But, you have it and it's a blessing. Savor it for you and for John. When he returns, may he hear all about it from you.

Dr. Smak said...

So so sorry for what he lost, what you lost, and what Maddie and Riley lost.
I'm hoping for some easier days for you soon.
Smak

Amelie said...

Oh Snick. Beautiful and heartbreaking.

Shosh said...

beautiful post

bostongirl said...

Your thoughts are so beautifully written. I am profoundly sorry for all the you and John have lost. As others have said, I am also amazed at how you have persevered at making a wonderful home for your children.

Susan said...

Awsome post Snick. I think us that are not widows take our husbands for granted...not thinking they may not be there. Your post makes me appreciate him more even when they are not perfect ;) [hugs]

Roberta said...

I don't think he's missing out at all. He's watching everything - he KNOWS.

Big W said...

Tears for all of you. But oh how lucky Maddie and Riley are that you are their mother.

Sharon said...

This is so beautifully written. I've never commented before, but I want you to know that I am touched by your story, and by your words.

kathy a. said...

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Jody said...

so, so beautifully written. managed to hold back tears, but just barely. glad you had such a sweet, wonderful day. you all deserve it...and many, many more.

beyond said...

such a lovely post. sending you warm thoughts.

Aimee said...

You're right. Days like that are perfection. The epitome of the wonderfulness of parenthood. I'm so sorry that John missed that. That you both missed that, and that M & R miss him in their lives. So, so sorry.

OTRgirl said...

Beautifully said. Your writing is so clear, it feels like I just got to peek through the window and watch the evening flow along. I am sad that he's not part of that.

Responding to your previous post: I'm SO with you on the garden thing. In Baltimore, we found a teenager who LOVED doing yard work and came by once a week. He charged $12/hour, which seemed like a bit much, but it was such a relief to know things were taken care of and I didn't have to do it. I highly recommend that solution.

Cynthia said...

Oh, so beautiful. Sad. Lovely. My heart aches for you with all the happiness and sadness that is the circle of life. Sending love your way, Cynthia

Liz said...

I just wanted to add in how sorry I am that you couldn't share the day with John. Your post was beautiful and gut-wrenching at the same time. I can only hope that life is easier where you are surrounded by family and friends.

(another) karen said...

on days like this, as it often does, your writing leaves me speechless.

kudos snickollet,
karen

Victoria said...

Snick, I'm not usually a crier-via-blog-post. Today, you described the sense of melancholy loss all widows carry around so beautifully that for a moment, I was taken into that sadness. It's not the big things that we curse and yell and miss them fiercely, it's the every day stuff. It's the moments where the longing for them is an ache, a physical pain, a yearning to just 'have' them. To sit on the sofa, to watch football on a Saturday afternoon, to read with in bed. Thanks for putting such a tough emotion into such beautiful words.

winecat said...

Stunningly beautiful Snick.

I am so sorry for what John lost but so joyful for what you're gained.

Keen said...

This post moved me more than just about anything you've ever written, and there's nothing to say except I'm so sorry for what you've all lost. Lots of love to you, Snick. I love it when you write about John.

Becky said...

I just came upon your blog and am touched by your story. I am so sorry for the loss of your husband. This is such a touching post. Thank you for sharing your journey.