Pallas is on the phone with my mom.
“Well we talk about things like regret.
Like if I had to do it over, I would be nicer to my dad.” she explains what they discuss in her kids support group.
“Mom” says Langston who is in my doorway. It’s 10:47. I was asleep.
“I have a confession. Well it’s not a confession, its….”
I pause, while the mom voices chatter with worry, concern and dread.
“I wish I had spent more time with Dad the second time he was sick. It’s just I didn’t know he was going to die. I regret not taking the time.”
Regret. Their regret. My children’s regret. I hadn’t realized regret was, in my mind, an adult emotion. It feels odd to hear it coming from the mouths of a 13 and 10 year old.
“Do you know what one of my fondest sick memories of him is?” Langston continues. Memories. They all have their own distinct memories of him, his voice, his smile and his essence. Memories that are not mine to give to them, but their very own.
A few weeks early, when I have officially told them I want to date, the topic turns to marriage and step dads.
Langston says, “I will never call anyone Dad anything. I’ve already had a dad.” He says it calmly and with force, the emphasis is on anyone. I sigh. To be so sure at 13!
“Is he tall and white?” Ezra wants to know about the man I am going out with tonight.
“Why does it matter?” I ask
“Because I think it’s best that he at least be a little like Daddy, the man you loved.”
There was a time when I worried, feared that they, my three children would drown under the weight of having no father. Instead, they have taken it in, mulled it around and have devised their own new normal.
Which reminds me of a saying.
But for the grace of God go …..they.
Fear not, they will be Okay