Magic, Monsters, and Mommy

When my kids woke up yesterday and discovered drink stirrers, they immediately morphed into wizards.

“Sssssss,” goes D. “You’re a frog, Mommy.”

Dutifully, I “ribbit, ribbit, ribbit,” from the pillows until he gets bored.

“Sssssss, you’re Mommy again.”

“Oh, thank goodness. I was getting hungry and didn’t want to eat flies.”

Then T gets in on the action. “Zap!” she says, brandishing her clear wand. “You’re a monster.”

“Sssssss,” D says. “Mommy.”

“No, turn her into a monster,” T insists.

“Sssssss,” D says, “you’re a monster.”

“ROAR!” Replete with a deepened voice, hands gripped like claws, and wide angry eyes, I morph into Monster Mommy.

The kids scream, T with surprise and D with some genuine fear. He hides behind his big sister and peeks out at me. After a moment, I offer them an unexpected ROAR again. D screams again and wraps his arms around his sister’s waist. T comforts him with an arm draped over his shoulder. It was a priceless, precious moment I’ll treasure as their mother, even if they did look a bit like these lemurs.

“You better turn me into a Mommy again if you want cuddles,” I warn.

“No, not yet,” says T, but D is ready. “Sssssss.” He climbs up to snuggle in bed with me while T tries to undo his work.

“Your wand doesn’t work anymore,” I tell her. “Only your brother’s does.” And then T climbs up to cuddle with me, too. Best start to the day ever.

One Year Of Loss

Today marks one year.

One year has passed, and a hollow ache permanently resides in my heart. I have journaled (those exact words), I have wept, I have struggled with my faith, and I have grieved. I think I always will, because nothing will ever fix the hole my father filled in my soul.

But I am stronger. I can talk about him now without falling apart, choking up, and crying more ugly tears. It still hurts, but I can now remember good memories and not just the painful ones of his decline.

I think he’d like that, for me to remember him with joy rather than sorrow, since he was a rosy-cheeked man many described as “jolly.” (And yes, on more than one occasion he donned that red suit and played the part of the really jolly man with rosy cheeks for the children during our community holiday party, though we—Hindus all—celebrate Christmas in only a secular way.)

It would have been nice to commemorate his passing with some achievement, with some thing to be proud of, but I realize now that “something” is me—I’ve been a work-in-progress all year, a broken shell of myself, a Humpty Dumpty fallen off the wall. And I’ve been collecting the pieces and gluing them all back together. The cracks still show, but the form is returned to a whole.

I wonder what this next year will bring, without him. But I think I’m ready to attempt it.