Would You?

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If you passed me on the street, would you recognize me?

The dark ponytailed hair, extra 20 pounds, and sometimes sad eyes dressed in the boring mommy uniform, blending in next to others just trying to get the grocery shopping done?

In that cursory glance as you ‘excuse me’d’ through the crowd to pick up the blue cheese-stuffed burgers and Blue Moon, would you give the tired mom a second glance? Would there be anything there to recognize as familiar?

If you passed him in a crowd, would you know who he was?

The little boy who is now over 4 foot, 60 lbs, and sports a buzz cut? The one who is cracking his mommy up in the aisles and testing her patience as he asks her the same question over and over again and then acts on the opposite of the answer?

The little boy whose eyes are actively seeking the male figures pushing carts with kids in them, and wondering what it is like to have a father active in his daily life? Would there be anything there to recognize as familiar?

Five years are gone in the blink of an eye, and so much has changed. The days have compounded and so have the alterations. Life has modified, adapted, and conformed in your absence…in some ways for the better, as we learn to embrace what is important and true and dear; and in some ways for the worst, as the equilibrium of the increasing distance weighs on the thread we are trying to keep tightly connected.

This is our new normal. The one we have to embrace as our now, the one that is beautiful in some ways and aching in others. The one that is so different from what it could have and would have been.

Sometimes I wonder if you know where we are now. If you would approve of where we are, how we’ve changed. And deep in my heart, I know the perfect soul you have now absolutely understands beyond what we possibly can while still back here without you…and not only would you approve of how I’ve tried to do everything right by you, but would commend and comfort and encourage me, and him. But certain parts of my mind conflict with my heart and wonder if you would fit here now, if we would fit with you, or if you would even want to.

My goal from day one has been to do things to make you proud.

As if one day I would get to tell you all about it and I wanted it to be the best story.

But there are many things I am not proud of…

and you always found your pride of us in me.

So where does that leave us?

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I think I’ve finally learned an important lesson.

I don’t know why or how or when, but I see it now.

What you found so admirable in me is that I achieved. I did. And I did with blind and unrecognizing spirit, confidence, and ambition.

So my very act of concentrating on trying to do with spirit, confidence, and ambition, has actually killed those exact things.

But I think I’m scared that if I stop trying so hard, I’ll never measure up again. If you aren’t here, how I will be those things again? Without that mirror, how do I know? We filled each others holes, we bridged the gaps, we strengthened the weaknesses and smoothed the rough edges, calmed the crazies and drew out the excitement from the borings. We balanced.

That is my word for this year. Balance.

I am trying to learn to do it on my own. You know I struggle with that.

I see now that there are others who recognize those things in me. Someone in particular so precious who not only sees me for that old me you would see, but sees me for the different me now. And not only sees me, but loves and appreciates and cherishes me. That is precious, and I believe sent by God and you. And even more importantly, I see now that even if there wasn’t someone to recognize those things, the most important thing is that I recognize them in myself…and that I’m strong enough to not need to see things in myself anymore to have worth, but to see that what I can give to others and to God to is way more important. I think I am finally learning how to be me without you…that is so very incredibly painful to admit. And it is so important to me that in turn, I always know, and keep close, that I wouldn’t be where I am without who you were and what you did.

The part I’m still not so sure about it raising this beautiful little creature without you.

If you did pass us in the crowd, I would choose for you to see him.

And as much as I sometimes fear that you wouldn’t, and realize that it is likely that he wouldn’t either, I comfort myself in the many ways that he is you. If I need to feel you near, I just have to hug him. If I need to know your reaction to something, I just need to show him my realness and vulnerabilities. His laughter and jokes and smartass comments and reassuring hugs are you.

It’s as close as we are ever going to get.

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If you passed me on the street, would you recognize me?

If you passed him in a crowd, would you know who he was?

Through the tired mom costume and the hyperactive man-giant cloak, I think you would…

and you would tell us we are doing just fine.

monica

Lovely

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