One of the toughest things I face as a single mom is wondering if Mila has enough love.
It’s hard being away from her during the days, but I have to be to give her the life she deserves. When we’re together, we play, read stories, and create. I tell her I love her every chance I get and she does the same.
We’re happy in our own little world.
But, it’s the days I have to go away. I question if she forgets about all our fun. There are some times I wonder if the love I instill in her stays. Or if she’s just made at me when I’m gone.
A few nights ago, I realized I shouldn’t put any thought into those fears.
I picked her up one afternoon after school. She sat in the car as my mom told her goodbye. As usual, she asked for a hundred goodbye hugs and kisses. Then kept saying bye. As my mom walked away, then started the goodbye kisses.
She blew them and for awhile they were reciprocated. Mom had to go back inside, but Mila did something that made me smile.
As the door shut and we backed out of the driveway, I saw her continue blowing goodbye kisses.
Between each kiss, she yelled, “goodbye! I love you!.”
She didn’t stop when we backed out. Or when we went down the street. Or even parked in our driveway. Outside our door, she kept saying goodbye and how much she loved her Gigi.
That’s when I realized, Mila has all the love in the world. She knows what love feels like and how to feel it towards others.
All those worries about if I’m doing good enough ease.
The next morning, when it’s hard to go away again. I see her goodbye kisses in action. It made leaving a little easier.
Because, I know those goodbye kisses never end and that love travels where ever we go.
I wanted to post this yesterday, but, like this story, my Christmas was filled with Mila. This was my final story for my creative writing class this year. I’m proud of it and I wanted to share it with all of you.
I hope all of you had a very, merry Christmas. Enjoy.
My eyes blink open and everything seems so bright. The morning air feels chilly as I search for her in bed.
I realize she’s not here. Being alone can be so scary.
In the mornings, I typically love to cuddle up beside her. She is my safe place. Anytime I’m cold, she warms me up. When afraid, she shows me there’s nothing to fear. The mornings she’s not here, I try to tell myself she hasn’t gone too far.
The longer I wait in her big bed, the more I worry she’s forgotten about me. I let out a little whimper, then I call her name wondering if she’ll hear me.
I hear the sweetest voice coming from the bedroom. Her footsteps start silently and get louder the closer she gets. All morning I’ve been up preparing for this moment.
It’s still snowing outside, as it has all night. My coffee has long been cold, but the hot chocolate on the stove is at the perfect temperature. There are only crumbs on the Santa plate and the milks all gone in the reindeer cup. All her presents are wrapped in shiny, red paper with big bows on top. The fairy lights around the living room and the Christmas tree are shining bright.
There will never be a perfect moment, but this is as close as it’ll get.
She’s running through the doorway at this point and there’s only one thing I can say.
I can’t believe my eyes. Santa came and left presents at my house, just for me. The cookies Mama and I made are all gone and it looks like he loved the milk we left him too.
Mama is smiling at me as she holds her arms open for a hug. This is the safety I was looking for this morning. I look up at her and smile. She looks beautiful with the lights twinkling in her eyes. I tell her Merry Christmas back. I’m still in shock. Santa brought presents and I can’t wait to rip this paper off of them. Mama and I are going to play all day.
When she puts me down, she pours us hot chocolate and I guess I should take a drink first. It tastes extra chocolatey with peppermint! Maybe Santa left some for us.
“Santa brought me presents and hot chocolate!”
The only thing I can do is smile at her. Her innocence and awe of everything in the world has impacted me more than she could ever imagine. She sees the magic around us and I wouldn’t want it differently.
I wonder if she notices the dark circles under my eyes or that my hair hasn’t been brushed. Wrapping presents all night while trying to be quiet was no easy task.
She asks if she can open them up and I nod at her.
With every quick rip of the wrapping paper, she smiles even bigger. The presents she wanted and circled in the Amazon toy book are now in her hands. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her smile bigger.
I pull out my phone to capture this moment.
Mama pulls out her phone again. I don’t know why she’s been on it so much lately. We have plenty to do here, but I say cheese as loud as I can. Can’t she understand that Santa has brought me these presents.
I go back to unwrapping. In the background, I hear her tell me if a present is from her or someone else I know. Between each gift, I look want to figure out how I can get them out, but Mama just tells me to give them to her.
We’re back to being a team.
She gets the first present open and it’s something I’ve never seen before. There’s still presents under the tree, but when Mama explains what this thing does, I want to play with it.
I run to get my snow coat, pants, and shoes. Mama gets my gloves and hat. She puts them all on me and I run out the back door.
The cold air stops me in my tracks. No wonder why I was so cold this morning.
There’s more snow than there was yesterday and it keeps falling. Where is my mama? She will love all this snow.
“Come on, Mama!”
This surprise gift caught her off guard. It’s one I don’t think she’s even ever seen one before. Her face when she saw it out was priceless.
She hurried outside and I have to get warm quick.
I’m moving more slowly than normal; the tiredness form the night is wearing me down. She’s yelling for me as I slip some boots on and wrap my big, winter coat around me. I rush out the door as she’s saying my name more.
It’s so bright out. The fresh snow is crisp under each step. There’s beauty all around me, but I can only look at her.
I lay her gift down and almost naturally she jumped on top of it. The rope feels rough in my hands, but I hold on tight. Its blades cut through the snow and her laugh somehow fills our whole backyard.
Who knew an old school sled could bring a toddler so much fun?
Time went by so fast. All I could hear was her yelling to go faster. I went as fast as I could for as long as I could. When I looked back, her cheeks were red and I knew it was time to go in.
“Let’s go get warmed up.”
My cheeks hurt from smiling and maybe cause it’s cold outside.
Mama scoops me up from my new toy, a sled. Instantly I’m warm again. We go into home and I remember something important.
I try to squirm out of my mama’s arms, but she’s holding me tight. Somehow, I kick enough for her to let me down. She’s saying something to me, but I don’t listen. This is way more important and my mama needs it right now.
Santa didn’t forget about me this morning, but I didn’t see him bring anything for her. She needs to know she’s been a good girl too.
In my room, under the rainbow Christmas tree, I uncover a pretty box. Then I run out to her.
She’s so impatient. As soon as I get her in the house, she has to run off. Now she’s running back in here. There’s something in her hands.
Quickly, she pulls my hand to the couch and as I sit, she puts a box in my hands.
There’s a tag addressed to me in her writing. The present is wrapped with a lot of tape. She looks so proud of her little surprise to me.
I don’t even need to open it. Whatever is inside will be my favorite gift of all time.
This Christmas morning has been full of perfect moments. The dark circles under my eyes feel like they have vanished and the cold has left both of our bodies. I never want to forget this.
She is my safe place and always makes me feel warm. Anytime I’m afraid of what’s going to come next, she helps me realize there’s nothing to fear. She’ll never know how thankful I am for her.
I open the present from her and without even seeing it, I wrap my arms around her and she squeezes back.
The rhythmic beeping of the hospital machines kept the rush of the room grounded in one place. There are people surrounding me. All the faces I love keep looking at me, but none of their comforting smiles are here. The nurses and doctors have solemn looks on their faces. Their mouths are moving, but I can’t hear what they are saying.
I can’t move and the light above me is blinding. All my body feels numb except the pressure in my belly. It is time and I am terrified.
There is only one option that I have and it’s the not one I ever wanted to choose. Reality is coming back to me. Everyone’s voices are becoming clearer and the beeping isn’t the only thing I can hear. My doctor, the one I’ve been seeing for over six months now, is telling me to breathe and to push. I remember the classes, but they never told me this would be an option. How can I keep going when I don’t know what’s going to happen next?
My body is more in control now than my mind. I’m holding my breath and everyone is counting. I feel him, but it’s not really him anymore.
Somehow, I’m still taking deep breaths and pushing on to the next moment. I know this will all be over soon, but I’m stuck in a place where I wish this was just it. There was no way I could turn back time, but navigating the future will be too hard. I get lost in my head during the moments of breathing. The beeping brings me back to the present.
“I can see his head. Only one more push and you’re here.”
My partner is staring at me. I can tell he’s scared too. The light is just so bright and I have to close my eyes to gain the strength to do this last act of love.
I push and I feel him enter the world. The room is silent and I feel empty. Isn’t there anyone that can say anything? I need someone to talk, to break the silence besides that dreaded beeping. As I look, I see them holding him. The one person I had been dreaming about for months, but I’ll never have him again.
“Does he have all his fingers and toes?”
It’s the only thing I can think to ask. I need some normalcy in this moment that’s anything, but normal. I hear a tiny yes. Still, no one knows what to say. They take him away from me, to the room next door. I want to get up, but I can’t.
Everything is getting cold. My eyes feel tired and I am weak. The room around me goes dark and I do too.
The beeping rings in my ear. I wake up. There’s just one nurse in my room. She sees that I’m awake and asks me if I need anything. The sun is starting to peak through the blinds. Somehow the world has continued on. I look at her and tears begin to fall from my eyes.
I feel her arms wrap around me and her calming shushing fills the room. She tells me he is beautiful as my hand covers my flattened belly. I wanted it all to be a horrible nightmare.
Time is passing quickly and slowly at the same time. I’m still crying into my nurse’s chest as she describes every detail of him to me. He has blond hair and the shape of my face. His hands are big and toes are long. There were pictures taken of him, but she is telling me about his pouty lips.
The door opens and I feel her retreat. Somehow, it’s time for me to already go home. My family packs up my belongs and the grief bag that someone slipped in my room. There’s an elephant that’s poking out and I hold on to it as I get seated into the wheelchair.
I see the room that he’s still in. He’s alone and I’m leaving him. Maybe he’s with me, but in a different way. All I know is I’m leaving and the world is swirling around me.
There isn’t the steady beeping on the car ride home. I walk in my room and see baby stuff with no baby to bring home. Life has ended for him and me too. All I can do is lay in bed and try to sleep.
Maybe when I wake up, this will all go away and maybe when I sleep, I’ll see him.
I wonder if the Moon ever aches for the Sun. For the Sun gives the Moon its light from afar, Letting it shine brighter than all the stars. The Moon and Sun will never be one, But they are always connected together. Just as you and I, forever.
I watch as the Sun gives life to all. Each night she lets the world go dark, But her nurturing light leaves a mark. She has to go to make a special call. On the side of the world she’s searching, Yet, her beloved moon is just now perching.
I see the Moon wandering every night. His movements make the waves crash, And the world feels their splashes. The Moon doesn’t know how this is right. All the wandering, but always too late. Why does this have to be their fate?
I feel the Moon aching for the Sun. The wandering and waves aren’t bizarre, It’s just the way the Moon and Sun are. Their distance isn’t fair to none. But they are always connected together. Just as you and I, forever.