If Only

By proxy.

If only. 

Daughter One was here for the weekend. Megan came into town to watch Violet’s play, which was adorable. Violet was a perfect “Mouse #2,” and spent a great deal of her time on stage waving at the family that came to cheer her on. Aunt Megan came from Sparks because Violet wanted her there. Megan is a good aunt. 

Over the weekend there were a few laughs because the other daughters were around, and they are hilarious. We also included games of Quiddler, a couple mornings of scone baking, and Lauren spent one night. 

We had family here for dinner Sunday night, including Dustin and Tjaden (Megan’s stepson and his honey-love). 

Sunday evening, after everyone left, I could tell the sadness was starting to settle in on my girl. And this morning, as she was saying her goodbyes before she left for the airport, we hugged and the tears came for us both. 

What do you say to your daughter when she is hurting so badly? “I’m sorry” is so pathetic, but it is all I have. The thing I really want to do, but don’t have the ability to, is take the pain away from her. Hasn’t she suffered enough? Could I have a turn? Please?

From my office window I watched her drive away—alone. Alone is what she has now. In Sparks there are yoga classes and interactions with a few friends, and there are the step kids she loves. But at the end of the day she is left with Alone. Alone doesn’t keep you warm at night. 

Parents watch their kids take first steps, learn how to write and read, make soccer goals, receive awards, struggle with friends, get jobs, choose spouses, and just generally live life and grow in the process. But we also watch them face disappointment, hardships, trials, and in some cases, heart-wrenching grief. Just as we cannot steal their joy when good things happen, we can’t take their pain when life sucks for them—as much as we might want to…try to…hope to… 

Here is yet another thing that was buried in the fine print that I failed to notice when I signed the parenting contract: “No proxy work.”