She lightly skipped toward our car today, wondering if we might stop for cupcakes on the way home, hoping that the count would be in for the school competition the next day, realizing with a touch of sadness that tomorrow would be Saturday with no school for two more days. My son—breathing, warm, whole—is already home from his short day in Kindergarden.
As I grasped her hand in mine, she pranced along oblivious to the chatter—mundane and significant alike—between small groups of parents waiting for their beloveds to walk out the door. She is seven, and not equipped to deal with the harsher realities of our life in these times. I am thirty seven and still lack the facilites to process the enormity of it all. I felt gravity pulling me toward silent contemplation while her steps both defied and accepted the limitations of our existence, her staccato rhythm cycling unencumbered by the what-ifs and hows and whys. She continued forward, pulling me along, unaware of all these questions with answers that will never come.
I have been ungrateful and impatient at times for the privilege that is our life’s banality; the schedules, chores, repetitive and thankless tasks, the hardships and even tender moments, the sense of grounding weight in an embrace. If I would be lucky enough to continue on with only this, to have a life most ordinary, I will have been blessed beyond measure.
Tonight in the darkness I will grieve as a parent with a finer sense of mortality, who understands more everyday there is a penalty worse than death; to survive when your child does not.
Come the morning, I will welcome the light.