I have one.

“So, how many kids do you have?”

I knew I would get asked that at some point. It’s a front line, nice-to-meet-you kind of a question. It’s a chit chat question, innocuous.

It isn’t a probing, tell-me-the-worst-of-your-life question.

Except that now, it is.

“I have one.” I said. I tried to leave it at that. This person is just a passing stranger, not someone whose entering my life for the long haul. In my heart, I still have two. In my heart, I am still a warrior mom, and infinitely proud of both my girls. But this person isn’t looking for my life story, he’s just looking for chit chat.

I have never been good at chit chat.

“Oh. With the minivan, I would have expected more.”

Did I mention I have never been good at chit chat?

To be fair, this was the car sales guy. I’m starting to think about trading out of my w/c accessible van, so it isn’t like I wasn’t expecting to explain why I don’t need it any more. It’s just that – this is mine. This is my heart, right out there for the whole world to see and judge. I was proud to be one of the mighty (there’s actually a website for special parents by that name, it’s very good), and now I feel like one of the fallen. I feel weak, and broken, and displaced.

And, dammit, I don’t want to share that like first name information. I don’t want shallow sympathy followed by awkward, where-the-hell-can-I-take-this-conversation-now? silence. She’s mine. She’s my heart. She isn’t for this person who means nothing to me.

But here I am in this world, where I will be asked this question. And I’ll deal with this – maybe I’ll get better at this over time. I guess we’ll see. I’m not good at chit chat.

“Funny thing about that.” I say. “You may have noticed my van is a little different.”

“Yeah, it’s handicap accessible.” He says. I let the inappropriate verbage slide. “You aren’t using it?”

“No.” I breathe out, and I move forward on this inevitable path. “I have one. I used to have two.”

I used to have two. In my heart, I still have two. I always will. But for this world, most people will only see the one.

Don’t be afraid to remind me.

It’s been almost a month since I lost Kate. That doesn’t seem possible, but yeah, February 5th, so… Yeah. Almost a month. I’d like to say I’m adjusting, but I don’t feel like I’m adjusting. On good days, I can go for several hours without crying. More often, I’m crying but still moving. Crying and washing dishes, crying and picking up Legos, crying and whatever. Functional crying. Other times, I’m an absolute wreck.

 

But I’m putting one foot in front of the other. I’m doing okay with that most days. Some days it feels like gravity has tripled, but… left foot, right foot. Repeat. I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I’m still moving.

 

A friend asked me the other day if it was okay to send loves, or if that might ruin a good day or a good moment. Another friend found herself in need of some portable ramps, and questioned whether it was okay to ask that favor from me right now.

 

I do get blindsided sometimes, but it isn’t by people. I was listening to the radio the other day… good song. And of course what I’m singing along with isn’t the actual song. It’s the song the band parodied of their hit. On Sesame Street. Because anyone who’s anyone has been on Sesame Street. And I watched that show for over a decade.

 

So, there’s that. There’s the school bus going by without stopping. There’re random school buses with the side door for wheelchair access – nowhere near my house, just passing by.

 

I frequently drive in the school zone for Kate’s last school, and find myself surprised that there are still speed zones, that there are still people there. Kate isn’t here any more, there’s no need for that place any more.

 

I’m reminded when I drive my van, that I no longer need.

 

I am reminded in my house, every second.

 

I frequently get sucker punched by my own mind.

 

You don’t need to be afraid of reminding me. I promise, I haven’t forgotten. You can miss her, too. It won’t make me miss her less, but it’s okay for us to miss her together.  It’s good to know that she touched you, too. And if I should happen to cry, just give me your shoulder.  You can even cry with me.