Before Chickadee left, she made me load Draw Something onto my phone. “It’s super fun,” she said. “We can play together and you will love it, I promise!”
My drawing skills are rudimentary at best, but on my tiny phone screen with my suddenly-fat-feeling finger, there are kindergarteners who look like Da Vinci compared to me. My drawings are straight up terrible. The only way she can possibly guess anything I draw is when I write hints over the top of my scribbles. “You’re real super good at this,” she commented one day. You wouldn’t think sarcasm could drip off of a phone screen, AND YET.
Yeah, well. That from the girl whose drawing for “YACHT” was simply scrawling “This is the sound you make when you need to puke!” Points for making me laugh, anyway. I keep guessing, and drawing, and adding notes that I hope somehow say the things I’m carefully trying not to say.
“Text me every day,” she said. “Don’t get upset if I don’t always answer, but just let me know you’re there, okay?” So I do. And I draw shapeless blobs and dare her to decipher them.
She won’t start school until Monday, so for now, she texts me multiple times a day. “I put all of my clothes away! Yay me!” “We’re out running errands.” “What are the last 4 digits of my SSN? Dad can’t find it.” I respond as needed, and when she calls the house I pick up the phone and say things like, “We’re happy with our Internet Service Provider, thank you, please take us off your list” so that she can tell me that I am Not Funny.
On Monday she was gone and I knew she was gone and I had a bunch of appointments and after school was out, Mario’s mom and I sat out on the deck drinking coffee while the boys ran down to the pond to terrorize the frogs. My kind friend asked me how I was and I said I was fine, it was all okay, I was going to take it one day at a time and maybe this would be perfect and whatever she needs is the right thing.
On Tuesday she was gone and I knew she was gone and I had a lot of work to do and a couple of appointments and in-between I ran out for groceries and whipped up a giant pot of soup. Tuesday night was our first event of the year over at Hippie School, and we were directed to dress up, so Otto threw on a jacket and Monkey proudly donned his tuxedo t-shirt (I can’t help it, it makes me laugh) and I said fine, what the heck, and I put on a fancy dress and 5-inch heels and off to school we went. We admired the displays and listened to presentations and mingled with other parents and I tried very hard not to look at the older siblings who were there to see what their little brothers and sisters were doing. As Monkey and Marmoset fell into lockstep, Marmoset’s mom asked me how I was doing.
“I’m hanging in there,” I said—my standard answer.
She lowered her voice. “When does Chickadee leave?” she asked.
“She’s already gone, she left this weekend.” Her face registered shock. Hadn’t she just come home? “Yeah, it was quick. Better to get her up there and settled and back into school.” And then I changed the subject. After a couple of minutes Mario’s mom joined us and we continued talking and joking and watching our wonderful collective brood of quirky kids enjoy their time together.
On the way home in the car I texted her, as I’d been directed earlier in the day. “Headed home from Hippie School.” She didn’t call that night, which was fine.
On Wednesday she was gone and I knew she was gone and I didn’t have any appointments at all, so I kept putting off taking a shower and getting dressed. Eventually it was dinnertime and Otto came home and I still hadn’t gotten dressed, so really, what did it matter? I ate dinner in my bathrobe and the world continued to turn. She called last night, full of news of the day, telling me all about the electives at her new high school, she will maybe take jewelry-making if it’s not full, the classes there are SO MUCH COOLER than the classes here at home, isn’t that neat? I told her it sounded really cool and that I hope she’s able to get in.
When we hung up, Otto read the terror on my face (what if that high school really IS so much better/cooler and she never comes back?) and made a snide comment about beading being unlikely to help her get into college, and I chuckled but asked him to stop. I made the dog come curl up in my lap and she thoroughly washed my face with the same tongue she uses to lick her butt and I just let her.
Today she’s gone and I know she’s gone and she woke me up with a text before her doctor’s appointment this morning. Monkey is working on his virtual school assignments and I’m working on work and later I’ll take him to a doctor’s appointment and then probably to Sonic for a treat. Chickie’s texting me about how the pediatrician her dad took her to this morning was male and that was weird and so she refused to get undressed because “I don’t get naked for random people!”
There’s so many things I want to say, but she’s gone and I know she’s gone so I just tell her she’s a dingbat and I love her and it’s her turn in Draw Something.