Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Letter to a friend.

Dear Friend,

It has been 1,813 days since we last were friends.  In that time:

  • Two children have learned their sight words (t-h-e looks easy, but it's really hard!)  The one is reading Harry Potter now, and the other can do Hop on Pop (when he is motivated.  He has his days, like everyone.)
  • Nine baby teeth have been lost.  That damn tooth fairy got credit for every. stinking. one. of them.
  • One child has gone through more than half of elementary school (he even rode the bus for two years, one day getting stuck in a snow drift and not getting home until after 5p.m.  Terrifying for a 6 year old, really.  We are glad he can now walk or ride his bike or get rides from his mom when she's around.)
  • (Oh yeah, they both learned to ride two wheelers, too.  You should have seen it!)
  • Another child is almost done with kindergarten.  He thinks he's smart as the day is long. 
  • Oh, yeah, he can talk now.  Boy can he talk!  But you missed that cute, baby-talk stage, and the day when he started to call the cat "Keetoe."  It was sweet, sweet.
  • The other one has made friends and lost friends: to moving, to distance, to different choices.  He is such a good boy, and is learning so much about this world.
  • One child remembers you, the other does not.  That's harsh.  For a lot of reasons.

It's impossible to list all the milestones in 1,813 days.  But anyway...

True, there were 5 days that we can subtract from our grand number.  In fact, there were 2 days in the same month when part of us saw each other.  Yeah, it was awkward, but we did it for someone else who isn't with us anymore.  At least he got to go to heaven knowing he had done what he could.  I wonder what he thinks of us now, still holding strong to our own suitcases full of Reasons.  They've gotten heavy.  I don't relish getting the contents out and showing them much these days.  They are a lot less shiny than they were 1,813 days ago, sort of sad and tired and broken.

And, I should probably thank you again for not running me over that one day in the parking lot.  Whew, that was awkward!

And also true, there are others who have missed days.  They don't get see all these milestones, either.  But if they could, they would.  They wouldn't have allowed all those days from that long ago day in April to this day to have elapsed in silence and wonder and eventual knowledge and resentment, despite what was said and what meaning was taken from what was said.  After all, children aren't the most reliable source.

And true, I have hoped for reconciliation.  Even prayed for it. But even so, steps toward reconciliation are hard, hard.  For every step, there are numerous other steps that are considered carefully, before a toe ever reaches the floor.  Because none of us can take back all those days, friend.  They are gone.  And we can't erase the endless rehashing of the events, or take back the dreams of conversations, the imagined reconciliations or (sometimes!!) imagined punches that surprised the dreamer with feelings of satisfaction.

We can't any of us change the days that have been missed.  And I have seen the days I was privileged to see and missed your days that of triumph and wonder.  But lets face it: 1,813 days when you are over 30 mean a lot less than when you are 1 and 4.

It feels like you are in the driver's seat.  Where do we go from here?




Isabel said...

What a beautifully written letter. Growing up can be hard.