She should be here
In all of the adventures of late my brain keeps repeating this… she should be here. She should. She should have had 65+ more years to do her important work. She should get to go to middle school, write essays, go to prom, graduate… go to college and create her own life. She should get to become what she wanted and was made to become…
Every picture I snapped while at the lake or on an adventure this summer my brain repeated this song. While I clicked and watched and laughed and played- I felt just below the surface those words. She should be here.
When we sit to eat together, Amelia and I with our healthy dinner and Lucy with her junky version, we say ‘Grace’ and eat. It feels empty. It is just me and my 2 girls… not at all the way I imagined. It feels like we are lacking the extra praying hands, that extra plate- that extra raspy voice. I don’t really like to eat dinner at my table anymore, but we have to. It is the right place to eat dinner…
I line people up to take pictures of their family silhouettes at the lake, but I no longer do mine. I snap pictures of my girls, but I will never line us up and take those pictures. It is a solid reminder she should be here.
We collect rocks and shells and paint them… instead of her participating we bring them to Maddie’s Spot and they just sit there for her. We bring back sand and dirt from our adventures, we pour the dirt onto her Spot and we hang out there for a picnic. All the time we do this, I am reminded of the fact that instead of Madeline collecting and choosing her dirt- we do it for her. I am reminded that she should be here.
I see girls that were in Kindergarten with Madeline, they keep growing. They perform in Orchestra or Choir, they play sports and do gymnastics. They do field days and summer camps. Those girls are entering Middle School next week, a whole new school. They are worried about locker combinations and new schedules. They school shopped at more grown up stores, searching for the ‘in’ thing. I don’t even know what the ‘in’ thing is… I bet in Middle School pencil cases and crayons are optional. There is no crazy supply list, because the work isn’t cut and paste kind of things… it is different. So I wait until next year to see what kind of supply list Amelia will need… I live in the dark as to what Middle School is like for girls to enter… because as we all know- she should be here.
In my world Madeline will always be a 5 ½ year old, a Kindergartener. She will forever have all of her baby teeth, though she longed to lose one. Madeline will forever have only read a tiny book in Kindergarten, she will never read Harry Potter or The Boxcar Children. Madeline even lost some of her favorite independent things to do- buttoning her crisp and neat cardigans and tying her twinkle toes. Her fingers didn’t work well enough in the end. My lovely will never get to join orchestra and practice her violin (and as hard as it is to hear while they are starting I miss it). Madeline will forever only go to Bradt, only to one school and only for 5 months. I can open Madeline’s crayon box at any time and smell her crayons. I love them. She had her treasured Angry Bird Eraser in there. She will never choose a fancy book bag and shop at a teenager store. Her forever favorite sneakers will be Twinkle Toes- no fancy Nike’s or whatever kids where these days.
I remind myself that there is a gift in her forever innocence. There is a gift in her never experiencing the hard parts of Middle School and High School. There is a gift that she never felt the pain of this divorce. She is forever 5 and lovely and young and innocent. She will never have a friend take advantage of her or a person hurt her. Her favorite shows will never be inappropriate and dangerous. Her favorite music was simple and light- young… not full of junk. Her writing is simple and full of ‘I love you mom’… drawings of rainbows and her sisters. She is forever 5 1/2 … forever young.
I know she should be here, and for most part I know she is where she is supposed to be. Her journey was and is different. I wish I could have her back, but she is safe and okay, she is where her story brought her. Lucy asked me, while sitting on my couch, if I had a genie what would I wish for. I started thinking of the movies and things I saw about genies and how wishes never go as you mean them to. She said she would wish for unlimited wishes- I told her it is against the rules. Lucy responded- I wish for Sparky to live forever, I reminded her that forever means Madeline will never see her again AND she didn’t request that she live forever healthy and not peeing everywhere. She agreed, and then wished for Madeline to come back and live forever. I told her forever is a long time… I kind of want to go to heaven don’t you think Madeline would too. Her last wish she thought about- Madeline comes back AND our whole family lives forever. I said what if death isn’t so bad lovely… what is forever on Earth stinks? Then she changed the question, like a child can and asked me about my favorite Dr. Seuss book. Of course, Mr. Brown Can Moo and Mulberry St. So I read to her, and thought about all the times I read those books to my girls when they were little. I remember reading to just Madeline because I knew I should, but when she was little there was nothing else to do through the day.
I know she should be here, but she is there. I know, I know. I will forever wish she could be here, but I will forever know that she is there. There is quite close to here… heaven melds with Earth. Lately I just miss the Madeline I don’t get to know, to see and to build.
The thing is… I know there is something we can do about some of this missing. I know that Childhood Cancer stole her future. I know that it can change for others, my lovely is gone and she should be here. There are many that STILL CAN BE HERE, if we can change this childhood cancer journey. What if… because of Madeline and so many others who should be here… we changed this. It is my hope. I would love to know that Madeline’s story and our world today could help others not leave here… not lose those 65 good years to build amazing stories, not lose out on prom shopping and college and marriage or even retirement.
Maybe, just maybe because she isn’t here, but she should be- we can help others get to be here, get to grow here and get to stay right here with their mommas and daddys…