"Wow, mom! You are a good cook after all! This is actually yummy!"
"I mean, not as good as daddy yet, but almost. You just need some practice, and you will catch up soon!"
"Gee, thanks a lot!" I replied, tickling my youngest daughter.
Last night as we sat around the dinner table I realized I was officially a "stay-at-home mom" and quickly becoming more domesticated. My friends love to make fun of me for not knowing what the "shiny thing with knobs" in the kitchen is. Kyle was our chef, not me. But, that morning I had started a crock pot AND cooked pancakes, all in one day.
The girls' first day of 2nd and 4th grade went well this morning...it was like Christmas for them, jumping out of bed at 6:30, thirty minutes before I'd planned on waking them. School supplies packed the previous night, clothes laid out. We don't have busing in this district, so most parents drop off before work. This morning, the playground was packed with parents ensuring little ones made it to the appropriate line, grabbing one last hug, taking a quick picture. Some were holding back tears...I wish I could cry about normal things. If I feel that tight chest/throat feeling, I try to hold on and nurture it but it rarely makes its way to my eyes anymore. I miss normal tears...
The morning was still surreal for me. As soon as I woke up, I had flashbacks to our house in Connecticut and my mind flipped through a memory reel of each "first day of school" since kindergarten. I made the girls stand in the same spot each year for comparison photos. I smelled the old wooden floors in our house, felt the moisture from a humid New England day, heard the clatter of our school bus pulling up to our driveway. I pulled the warm blanket around me, if just for a moment, of walking into our old school, knowing most of the faces, giving and receiving hugs.
At the school ice cream social Tuesday afternoon, I found myself in an unknown land. I knew a few friendly faces, but generally I felt more comfortable standing outside the gym door alone pretending to watch the girls play with their friends on the upper field. I've grown less able to make small talk, even though I know I should. Sometimes I feel more comfortable alone, or just with the family....they are my "home base" these days. Part of it is...here, people see the new "me" when they look at me. A "me" without last year. But, I've integrated the events of last year into who I am. I'm not yet sure where that leaves me these days. I don't want or need to talk about our tragedy on most days, but it is still part of me....it has become part of the lens through which I view the world, it has changed the way in which I view relationships, the types of friendships I need, my desire to be alone sometimes -- in my own little world where I'm glad most people will never need to join me.
One step at a time....