When Willow first learned to write, and for a little bit afterward, she wrote her Ws upside down so that her name looked like “Millom.” I’d totally forgotten about that until last night when she was showing SG some of her old signed drawings.
She’s decided that she wants SG to have a sleepover on Christmas, and now every day that is the first thing she asks me about. Today she got off to a slow start, and so she was halfway through her breakfast of toast with mashed avocado and salt before she was ready to talk. She pushed her hair out of her face and asked, Is SG sleeping over on Christmas?
Maybe. I don’t know, I said. Well, she said, member what I told you last night: it doesn’t have to be the couch. You guys can put me and Sophie to bed in your bed, not our beds, your.bed. and then we will, like, fall asleep. Then, then you can just, you know, like, move us? to our beds while we sleep, because it’s not like we will even know because we will be, DUH, sleeping and stuff. Then you guys can sleep in there and then it will be Christmas and I’ll get my American! Girl! Doll! Can I have more of this? Is there more aaahvoughcaaawwdoough?
I took a sip of my coffee, thinking, Shit, I am totally on the hook for an American Girl doll now, but also sort of laughing, because my six year old is encouraging me to invite my boyfriend to spend the night, and how funny is it that he and I seem to be much more uncomfortable with that than the kids are. Of course, the reason we don’t do things that way is because of them, even though I know they totally don’t care and would, I’m sure, love to see him at the breakfast table.
And while I was cutting up more avocado and waiting on the bread to toast, she started asking about us getting married. Again. She’s really hoping that will happen, so that Spencer can be her cousin. Spencer? Is SG and his parents’ dog.
She’s also looking to pick up some more grandparents (the kids and I all love SGs parents, big time) and extended family. But sweetest of all was when I was brushing her hair the other day and she said that she’d like SG and I to get married so that she could be related to him. She is big on family.
I have to be honest and say that I beat myself up all the time for being divorced twice. It’s not that I am wishing things were different, but all the same I feel awful for my kids that they have to shuffle back and forth between houses, that there’s all this unsettledness at the center of their lives. The main thing I beat myself up over is how much damage my choices may have caused them. But then here is this little girl in her pajamas, bouncing in her seat and kicking her legs under the kitchen table, sitting, in fact, in the same chair at the same table I sat in as a kid, and she’s smiling and happy and laughing and asking me about how many new people will be related to her if I get married. She’s not broken. Not even close. And she sees me happier than I’ve ever been, which is good because I want her to expect to be a happy adult. I hope she never puts up with things she shouldn’t have to because she thinks she must. I hope that I’ve taught all my kids differently. I’m definitely a big believer in the follow-your-heart philosophy, because even though it tends to be messy, it zeroes in on the beautiful parts of life and that’s what makes it all make even a little bit of sense, at least for me.