I try not to cry in front of Julia if at all possible. People have differing opinions on adults showing their emotions to children and while I try to disguise my sobs as hiccups and clear my throat because I’m secretly driving the car with tears streaming down my face I’m honestly a grieving mother and wife. I’m sad, I’m scared of facing this life I had never imagined day after day, year after year, I mourn the big and small moments that Julia will not share with her amazing and kind father who absolutely adored her and me. So, she has caught me a few times red nosed and snotty and she asks in her sing songy voice, “Mom-ee, why do you have your crying voice?” I do not have a good answer yet.
Telling her that I miss Daddy does not quite cover it. Daddy is gone and now I have to do my job and his job raising her makes it seem like he chose to leave, which he decidedly did not. So I say I’m tired or sad or whatever seems to make sense and get me to stop crying. And she comforts me in the ways she knows how. She brings me stuffed animals. Armfuls of baby dolls, stuffed bears and other toys. I get the first choice of “loveys” to sleep with that night because she can see I need a little extra care and just like her father she in tune with helping others. I see it in her interactions with friends and other children, the sincere empathy and care for others. Not that I’m some heartless monster by any means, but I always said that beautiful selflessness came from Wesley. He cared and would go the extra mile for anyone. His empathy was awesome.
It is no coincidence then, that one of Julia’s nicknames is “lovey” because although P.U. Skunk is soft and the worn grey kitty from my childhood that Julia co-opted in babyhood are great, she is the lovey that I want to have tucked under my arm. I hold her because when I look at her sleeping face in the stillness and quiet, she looks like Wesley. And for that moment I can see the straight line of his mouth and his constantly fluttering eyelashes in the blonde child that we so loved together and it gives me solace that nothing filled with fiber-fill can do.