I push it back down, that's what I do with this heartache, I push it and I turn my head away and try not to feel it. Because I know how it feels if I give in. It is an ache deep within myself, the pain of having a piece of my heart given back to me and of being made more whole for a few days only to have it taken away again. Every time I have to say goodbye, I feel like a part of my life is missing.
If I let myself feel it, I'm afraid I'll start to cry and I won't be able to stop.
My sister is 13 now, and she'll be in high school next year. She is beyond beautiful, and with her new contact lenses you can see her eyes and I know that she will hate this picture but to me it is wonderful because of the joy. She was laughing and covering her face to stop me from taking a picture, but got distracted, and her hands went down and the shutter clicked and this was made. That is the joy I feel when I get to be with her.
Sam adores her, and she is amazing with both of my kids. I wish that I could be there to go to the movies with her on the weekends, to be someone she could confide in, to watch her dance at her recital every May and feel the familiar burst of pride in my heart.
When Sam was younger, we got to visit with my family back East 3-4 times a year. Things have changed for all of us since then, and now the cost of 3 or 4 plane tickets for me and the boys or my whole family is just too much. None of us can afford it, and the frequent flier miles are running out. Last year, I only got to see them twice, once in January and once in June. It's not enough. This time, as they walkout the door, I have no idea when I'll see them again, and I hate that.
Danny had not seen them since last June, when he was only just turned one. I was surprised by how he acted this time. I don't know if he could somehow remember them, or if it was just the familiarity I have with him, but he didn't treat them like strangers. It was like he knew them. I don't know if that's even possible. I want him to know them. One day I will be able to explain to him that Helene is my second Mom, and that Lianna is my sister, but he is still too young.
This morning, they stopped here before driving down to catch their plane. It was 7:20 and we said our goodbyes, and as they were getting their shoes on, Sam woke up and came out of his bedroom. They gave him hugs and said goodbye After the door was closed, I watched from the couch as he just stood there staring at the front door, a silhouette in the light, sleepy and frozen for several moments. I have no idea what he was thinking, or if he was even thinking of anything. I said his name and he came over and hopped up on the couch like it was just another day.
And in the end, it was just another day, but a day where I felt exhausted and drained and overwhelmed by the shadow of sadness underneath my thoughts. We drove, and we played, and I snapped, and my fuse was short, but those moments passed, and I managed. And then they were asleep, and I wrote and I cried and I finally let myself feel, just for a few minutes. And tomorrow will be another day where I won't have time to think about it, and the pain will fade, and I won't feel the empty space in my heart quite as much. But it will always be there, waiting to be filled again.