Tonight's picture was taken in June of 2007. Mattie was five years old and pictured with two of his favorite things... Legos and Scooby Doo (on his shirt). Back then our whole home was filled with Legos, Legos in bins, Lego structures already built and even Lego trains. As I look at this picture tonight, I focused in on Mattie's arms and legs. The ironic thing about this is that Mattie's arms and legs look just like mine. I knew we looked alike, but I never really stopped to think about his limbs. We had a very similar body type, personality, and way of interacting with people. It is hard to accept Mattie not in our lives and also realize that this special being that looked so much like me is missing.
Quote of the day: Far away in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see the beauty, believe in them and try to follow where they lead. ~ Louisa May Alcott
This morning while we were awaiting our friends to arrive at Ellen's beach house, I had the opportunity to spend some time with Charlotte. Charlotte and I chatted about various things and then she taught me a card game called "spit." Playing cards is not my forte, but I learned while raising Mattie the art of playing games. Not only playing, but artfully losing.
I had the opportunity to spend time today not only with Ellen's family, but with my friend Christine and her family. Christine's son, Campbell was a close friend of Mattie's. In many ways it is surreal to see Charlotte and Campbell growing up and interacting, and yet I know very well that a part of their trio is now missing. This reality can be hard to understand and at times I simply deem it unfair. Unfair of course to Mattie since he suffered a horrible diagnosis and death, and also unfair to us since we have been robbed of being his parent and we also must continue living with these memories.
This afternoon, we all went down to the beach together and spent close to three hours there. The kids loved the sand, water, riding the waves, and playing beach kick ball. When I was their age, I loved kick ball, but I never played it in the sand. It is much harder that way! I played on a team with Charlotte and Livi (Campbell's sister) and we played against the three dads (Jeff, Charlotte's dad; James, Livi's dad; and of course Peter). Naturally if the dads wanted to they could have easily beat us, but they understood that wasn't an option! Needless to say we girls won, and we certainly got a work out to achieve this win!
As Christine and I discussed tonight, it is hard for me at times to balance the fine line between wanting to be engaged with other moms I knew and listening to their stories about their children and school, and needing space from this reality. I naturally can't bury my head in the sand and ask moms to deny the fact that they have children. I know that this all consuming role defines most women. Yet these conversations can be awkward for me, since I no longer share these day to day tasks, responsibilities, challenges, and joys. Not that I expect someone who is not in my shoes to get what I am living with, but it is always very special for me, when I find that a friend wants to understand, and isn't afraid to ask questions or dialogue about it with me. Empathy is indeed a powerful force and a gift to receive from another person.
On Sunday, Peter and I will pack up and head back home. I arrived at the beach a week ago, frazzled, very sick, and exhausted. I am now on the mend, but still tired and fragile.