12/3/12: Time Passes

by Jada

Dear Vivian

Your father sends me scans of old pictures of you and your sister, babyhood for her, toddlerhood for you. I barely remember those days, wrapped up in anxiousness, PPD, a full time job and a collapsing marriage. I lament to him my regret for missing those days, and remark at how it seems so far away.

It isn’t really. 5 years. A blip in the rest of my life, but at this point, half of yours. 

The picture is in the full sun, early July if I remember right. We had gone for a walk in the warm sun, you pulled on pink wide striped pants and a purple tank top. Your sister wore a pretty dress, back when I could convince her to wear a dress, over the swimsuit she refused to take off. Both of you in shades, staring up at me. Your arm draped oddly around your sister’s shoulders, sisterhood.

You’re sitting on the lawn next to the house I used to own, in the long grass. We’d just come home from a walk up the block, headed home after the usual whining had started I think.

I miss you both there.

The biggest regret of my life, the one thing I want to impress upon you, the thing I do my damndest to avoid now, is not being more present when you were young. Yeah, I was there. I was around. But I was distracted, or depressed or angry. I was not a mother, not in a true sense. I hate that I missed it. I hate that my memories are of horrid things, work things, meaningless things. 

I hate that I let it all pass me by. And for what? A job I lost? A marriage I couldn’t fix?

Don’t be like that. The things that matter will always matter. The people who love you, the people you love. They are the things that matter. Stuff comes and goes. Job titles, responsibilities, hell, even your lovers, they can come and go. Children? They never leave, not really.

So long as I can still feel your tiny feet inside me, under my heart kicking away, you have never really left. 

It’s too bad it’s taken me this long to figure it all out. But there’s still time to fix it.