Friday, October 7, 2011
Special thanks to our regular guest contributor Matthew Croke who is filling in for Jackie today!
The first day of pre-school was minutes away. You could see the parents glide into the room as if on hover shoes, their little ones following closely behind. My Molly, holding my hand tight and almost hugging my leg, walks in the room with me. She sees the sand table, pulls away from me like my hand is on fire, and I am quickly forgotten.
The teacher, Mrs. Linda, is a woman in her sixties, but possesses the energy of a twenty year old. She bounces from parent to parent collecting all the mandatory paperwork and vaccine records. She bounces her way over to me and I hand her the papers. “Anything we should know about Molly that is not in here.” she blurts out, catching me off guard. From the tone of her voice I could tell she is expecting a “No.” and then off to the next person.
“You should know her Mom died when she was only 3 months old.” I said, watching her face make the same expression when I tell people the news; cheeks drop, eyes slightly close, and lips held in a forced half smile. “Thank you for telling me. I am so sorry. Don’t worry, when Mother’s Day comes around, I will make sure we make a card for grandma or an aunt.” she says.
I have gotten better at this, and a few years ago I might have acted awkward which would make the situation more awkward. But I place my hand gently on her arm, “Thank you so much for looking out for her, but I do want Molly to make a Mother’s Day card for Lisa. She has a Mom, she’s just in heaven.” The teacher’s forced smile relaxes into a natural one. “That’s good to know, I sometimes don’t know what the parent wants.
There is something about a death, where the instinct of others leans towards the “the person never existed” phenomenon. I have a good friend who once brought up Lisa, and at the end of the conversation actually apologize to me for talking about her. “Don’t apologize.” I said “It’s not like you’re bringing up some night in Vegas where hookers were involved. This is Lisa; she was my wife, I’m proud to talk about her.”
Trying to keep the name alive of the one we lost is a challenge. But for today, at least I know Molly’s very first teacher will support my wishes of letting her know she does indeed have a Mom, we just can’t physically see her.