last night i had a dream my dad died. i moaned, and heaved and ached on country roads with golden light and sleepy souls. no one heard me. “my dad is dead,” i kept telling them. i called my sister. silence. the words couldn’t leave my lips, so i wailed and whispered, but fact could not come to fruition. no one understood. no one cared. no dream had ever felt more real. i woke up exhausted. i woke with my babies beside me, like they are when they are scared. this time it was me. but when i woke i was not so annoyed that their hard bones were in my soft places. we were together. and my dad IS alive. it was only a dream. everything is okay.
the night before this awful slumber was the day i ran myself into the ground. the day i could hardly keep my eyes open. not even coffee could do the magic. the morning after pulling an almost all nighter to get my wedding edits done, and the morning i had the honor of photographing senator Tammy Duckworth, and rushed across town to my other job, working later than I’m used to. the night i wished i was a stay at home mama baking bread in Wyoming. i was so good at baking bread. it brought me more joy than any of this.
i asked terry to watch my girls, gave her my key and permission to let them eat anything. she is a saint, a magic human who loves my babies like her own, and my girls love her like they love me. since the moment i met them, i always wanted my family to be like terry’s. two grown, bad ass sisters, polar opposites, equally as beautiful and special. two parents who love and provide for their kids, who are connected and present, and authentic. the places they travel, the conversations they have, the connection, the love, the food, the transparency. it’s what i wanted. but then i got divorced. i suppose i never really had that though. even when we were together. it was imaginary. the scariest kind. but terry in my home heals a little something. she gives something i can’t, and i’m not so sure what it is, but my girls they feel it and I am most grateful.
tonight i cook frozen chicken nuggets to daughters who used to be vegetarian and fries too. I cut a few pieces of broccoli to make myself feel better. i justify this dinner because it’s better than last nights cereal and because we went to 3 birthday party’s and had to pass on 2. and tomorrow is remy’s birhtday. i remember the day he was born. i was in a bath in denver when my sister called. i almost didn’t answer. water and technology didn’t seem smart but i did it anyway. i can still hear her voice, i remember the exact words she said. i still smell my bathroom and hear the neighbors rolling their toilet paper roll from upstaris. the walls were thin. our apartment was what we could afford. i decided to opt out of a home birth and planned for a birth center when i realized i could hear my neighbors tearing their toilet paper off the roll. octave was born in a hospital anyway, a detail she is strangely sad about, like the sadness i carry over not getting to choose my own birth day. interesting the similarities we possess and what inspires and disappoints. my girl will probably birth her babies in the jungle, unassisted or something of the like, and unlike all my opposing critiques i will honor her choice and cheer her on, knowing that she knows best. because she always has and she always will. i don’t need to be the devils advocate. that is the world, and she is smart. her brain, like mine has painfully thought through any and all scenarios. her choices will be both educated and ambitious. bijou will be the same, except she will never lead this on, making everyone more prone to project all opinions and advice on to her. I will want to do the same but I will remember this. And my sisters will call me out if I don’t. I’ve asked them every year to call me out. They know who i am. they know the mother i want to be. They will not let this slip through the cracks. But this has little to do with future babies and everything to do with how i want to parent. but also, i’ve made sure i don’t project all this having babies business on to her. although she tells me she does. two. just like me. but everything opens and closes with, “this is how i’ve chosen to live, but there are many ways to live.” It’s exhausting really, but hopefully one day she realizes what a gift this effort gives. last night i got a glimpse. the way she saw me, thanked me, affirmed me. they both did. something bijou has a harder time with. she is often my critique and it doesn’t always feel good. i think maybe i am like that for my mother. i’m sorry mom. but this night they both see me and love on me with words. “you’re the best mom in the world, most people have two people, but you’re one person doing many jobs.” it was so endearing and she sounded so mature but i immediately felt guilty. is she gathering this from last weeks epic weepy meltdown when i actually lost it and wasn’t sure i could pull it back together? probably. but either way, i was so depleted i had to just take it and enjoy it. this week is almost over. saturday. tomorrow is sunday. sabbath. i miss that word. sacred. it holds something i cannot.
tomorrow remy is 8 and he is my time keeper. first comes remy, then comes octave. 8. eight. EIGHT. i hope octave and bijou have babies together, that is, if they still want to, because cousins are something and family is everything. and i know this exercise isn’t supposed to come full circle, but it kind of does. because my dad is one of my favorite people and he is alive and it was all just a dream. and without him I couldn’t have my sister and while my paradigm could not be more different than my daughters, there are parallels that are worth sharing and maybe someday worth finding, and if nothing else, worth creating.