My inlaws are here.
I guess they aren’t really, legally my inlaws but I’m not sure what to call them. My kids’ grandparents? Even that’s not right because technically it’s Grandpa and Step-grandma. Complicated. They are not staying very long and that’s a little sticky too. I have wants. And I don’t think I’m going to get any of them
I want to have a good cry with Bill. I want the one person that knew Stephen as well as I did (in different ways though) go all out. He’s hurting too. I know that. I can see that. I see it when he looks at the kids. When I showed him the drawing of the gravestone. (Sidenote: He thinks I did a really good job picking it out…he approves of the simplicity of the design. I feel better about it now because he’s the one I really cared about.) I want to tell him that I’m not sleeping again. I want to tell him that I mentally can go no further. That I ache. That I can’t imagine what to do from here or where I’m supposed to go. I want him to tell me what’s going on in his head. I want to know how he has changed.
I want to send them back with some of his stuff. The family stuff. The stuff that predates me and doesn’t mean much. Not all of it. But enough that I can think about sorting out the rest.
And there it is.
Please, please take some of this clutter out of my head so I can sort out the rest.
Really? Would that be too much to ask?
I don’t ask for much. I don’t ask because I honestly don’t know what I need but wouldn’t be all benefit from less clutter. Things on the counter, the buffet, the floor of the minivan? My head, my dreams, my sleep, my kid’s head? Can I laugh again without peeing on myself? (that? would probably be too much to ask)
I ask for time for myself. I hire the babysitter or call in yet another favor. And then, when I get done with my time for myself, the little girls whine and cling and hang on me. It’s almost worse than when we can’t stand each other because we’ve been snowed in for days on end. Ella had a horrible day at school and I can only blame myself.
So here’s what happened. I cleaned house last night. Shampooed the carpet using a spot cleaner (not the most efficient, granted, but I used what I had). Sorted toys. Changed sheets on the beds. Cleaned toilet. The works. It’s what you do when the “Grands” are in town (I know I’ve mentioned that my children have 3 sets….that’s 2 mothers-in-law…I ought to be sainted). So this morning, the 2 tiny pink tornadoes fly out of bed and proceed to crumble cinnamon toast on the carpet and bang the sippy cup on the clean, clean coffee table so that little dribbles fly everywhere. “Get your shoes…we’re out of here” I’ll just take them away from the pretty carpet.
Ella gets a haircut. And then decides that we need lunch. HuHot is right next door and, gasp, it’s her favorite (Stephen would be so pleased that we have raised a foodie). I’ve never ventured to HuHot by myself with the 2 littles but, hey…it’s early. We eat. Ella eats very little. Amelia eats her weight in Pad Thai noodles. We stroll down the mall and into the bookstore. They sense my weakness. I buy a new book of the former blogger variety and Ella fills her arms with books with maps and baby kittens and Curious George. I? Am a sucker. So then we drive to the library and return last week’s books. At this point, I lack the energy it would take to go inside and kill a half hour before preschool.
So I go to the cemetary. My first time with Ella. See, she knew that I bought a great big shiny rock for daddy but I got the feeling that she didn’t know why. So I took her to see her brother’s stone. 14 feet from where Stephen’s remains are buried. She recognized that “her last name” was on that stone. And she recognized my name. So we walk over to the plastic placard that marks where Stephen is. And we talk about how the rock will go on that spot so that we can go there and remember him. “All these rocks grew up here?” she asks. No, I say, people put them here. This is a place where we go to remember all the people who went to heaven. “Like my brother. And Stephen. He’s my daddy and he got died and we to heaven.” That’s right baby. So she walks over to an empty spot and says “Is your rock going to go here?” I certainly hope not. That probably belongs to somebody else. “Where is your rock?” I don’t have one. “You’re not gone. You’re not sick. You’re here and I will keep you safe.”
Time to go. I let her buckle herself into the carseat so that she couldn’t see me cry.
She had a horrible day at school. Wanted me. Wanted to go home. Cried at everything. Didn’t want to do anything. Spent some time in the director’s office (who she knows really well from church) and I think that Pam talked her out of flat out refusing to do anything but go home. Pam is great like that. But I think I caused it. I shuffled her out of the house this morning when all she wanted to do was be at home. I took her to “where the rocks grow” to make sure that she would understand.
That’s the problem. She gets it. She understands too much. I need to back off and just make sure that what she really knows, really really deep down knows that I will be here for her. I need her to know that I will take care of her. I need to unring that alarm bell in her head that goes off every time she thinks about her daddy.