Leo had been crying for thirty-five minutes from his pack n play. And not just those tiresome whiny sounds, where more drool leaves the mouth than tears leave the eyes. These were the shrieking, new upper teeth cries, the kind of noise that can be downright debilitating, sending your heart into your throat and your hands into your ears.
I was folding laundry to distract myself. Stella was quietly building a fort. It was 8:30am yesterday morning and we were hunkering down for the long haul.
It wasn’t until he finally fell asleep that I looked over at Stella to initiate some sort of 'we made it' hug. She seemed particularly downcast, more troubled than I’ve seen her in the past. Her head hung low, her eyes staring downwards at her hands as she shuffled her fingers over a small piece of broken balloon, the kind of listless fidgeting you do when you’re down.
It’s hard listening to Leo cry for that long, isn’t babe.
It’s not about that Dad. She says it so matter of factly, so confidently, as if she's three going on fifteen.
It’s about her, she said, pointing to the picture of Margot on our mantle.
I wish I had a sister.
It was the first time I remember her being sad about Margot for her sake. Her despondence wasn’t for our sake and it wasn’t an excuse for having a rough day. I could see the internalization happening in her eyes, the strange feeling of loss, of what could have been.
I pulled her close and we started crying together.
I love you sweetie.
I love you too Daddy, she whispered back.
Will you help me remember Margot? I asked.
Will you help me remember Margot? She asked.