I don’t know how long it’s socially acceptable for a mom to share the personal stories of their child. I assume in today’s digital age; there becomes a time where we must ask for permission before sharing the sweet moments of the human you made on the interwebs.
Today is not that day.
My daughter is eight years old, and I’ve been sharing her story since she was the size of a blueberry.
We announced her birth on Facebook, and her sweet face has been at the center of every story I’ve written as I’ve navigated widowhood as a young woman and mother.
She’s carried me through a lot, and I hope she’s never felt the unintended weight of my worries and fears as we’ve walked the curvy path of grief together.
To my daughter Mira, a daddy is a fictional character, a superhero of sorts who lives in the sky and paints masterpieces of pink and purple across the clouds. I’ve spent every day since her daddy died creating a memory of him in the vacant spaces of her heart.
She’ll repeat the stories as if they were her own when asked about her daddy in heaven.
“My daddy liked pizza. My daddy was an artist. My daddy cheered for the Chicago Bears.”
But her hands don’t remember how his face felt or the voices he’d make when spooning her sweet potatoes.
Only recently have I started to understand that even in her silence, she probably had more questions. She saw the way daddies looked at their little girls or picked them up on the playground.
As we form our new family with a daddy #2 on earth, her longings are heard louder and sweeter than I’d ever imagined.
“Will you carry me?” she smiled at daddy #2 as we walked against the wind on the long road back to our hotel.
Our first family vacation.
The only trip Mira and I have ever taken without a grandparent or surrounded by friends.
Just me, daddy #2, and a sweet 8-year-old girl who suddenly had some tired legs wherever we went.
In the eyes of most, she’s probably a little too old to carry down the streets of a beach town. She’s nearly 60 pounds of bruised knees, knotted hair piled on top of your shoulder, and the wiggliest worm you’ve ever tried to maneuver.
But there, dad #2 is each time, scooping her up and carrying her home.
I think he knows what she may not- that we’re all making up for the lost time.
The moments he missed as she learned to crawl and the times she longed to be carried to the car, but her solo mom didn’t have enough hands.
Now, her legs dangle down past his knees, I’m a little worried about his back, and I’m sure to a passerby we look crazy.
But when someone asks you to “carry them,” you don’t always know how much they may need it.