It’s morning, and the light streams in through the window-well. There’s a cat on top of me, her purr filling the whole room. I know that I have places to be, but I just want to read a book. So I do.
My son, Carter, is almost four. The sun isn’t even up yet when he wakes me up, excited about the day. Breakfast. Cartoons. Toys. I want to read a book, but I can’t. I don’t have time. He’s more important. He’s already running around the apartment. I won’t have time for myself today, that’s apparent. And that’s okay.
Some days are easier than others. Today is one of those. I have some pieces that are out for publication; I’m making plans for my last semester of college and my possible graduate school career. I took a journey this morning to get an energy drink and cookies for breakfast. Someone asked me “How are you doing? How are you feeling about things?” and I didn’t have an easy answer. Because I don’t know. I never do. I wish that I could touch him, just one more time. Hold him. But I can’t.
I drink coffee now, because it helps me to stay awake. I like to watch Carter play. His favorite toy is this little keyboard that plays all sorts of different sounds. He likes anything musical, really; this is probably because I buy him way more musical toys than anything else. I hope he’ll be a musician someday, but I’m not sure what he’ll be. It’s too early to tell really, and he likes so many different things. I’m planning his fourth birthday party. I have to ask the husband who I should invite; he has friends I know he will want to come. I don’t have many friends. I spend my days at home. Sometimes I wish I’d gone to school. Not that I don’t love my son, because I do. But I wish I could be better for him.
I have the experience of being a mother with no child to show for it. It’s such a weird place to be in. And I no longer have a husband. I’m not tied to anyone. It’s still odd to not have to ask when I want to do something. To be able to go out, do what I want, buy what I want. I order some books off of Amazon and go about my daily business. The question, “Well, what do you have of him?” rings in my ears. I don’t have much. I gave it all up for the sake of getting divorced, getting free. But there’s one thing. I pull down the back of my shirt and look at my tattoo in the mirror. It’s his handprints, and his name. And the date. I call it his birthday. It’s funny really; his birthday was the day after he died. At least that’s how I consider it. I used to cry when I looked at the tattoo. I don’t anymore. I suppose that means I’m becoming okay. I wonder in the back of my head if that’s okay. If it’s okay to be okay.
The husband wakes up several hours after us. The sun is high in the sky. He scolds me for not making him breakfast, but I didn’t know when he’d be up. He expects a lot of me, but I do the things that I need to do to make him happy. Or at least I try. It seems like he’s never happy though, no matter what I do. I find myself apologizing frequently. There are many times where I’m scrambling to figure out what the right thing is to do. Sometimes I think there is no right thing with him. He tells me often that he could take Carter away. I can’t let that happen. I have to be my best.
When I lay the possibilities of my life out side by side, where I am now versus where I could be, the only thing that is missing is him. My son. I often imagine what my life would be like if I had an almost four year old. I wouldn’t be independent. I wouldn’t be in school. I wouldn’t be bettering myself. I have a hard time sometimes reconciling the difference in these two possibilities, that I had to give him up, so to speak, in order to be where I am now. Especially this time of year. It still hurts to be asked if I have any children, to not have an answer. I wish he was here, but I’m happy with where my life is now. And the next is step is to be okay with being okay.