Our holiday party was a success! We invited a few families over and the children ran around like wild animals while the grown-ups and the babies crowded around the Christmas cookies and mulled wine. I also made a pumpkin pie using my mom’s recipe, and it was good. The crust wasn’t the greatest, but her pie filling cannot be beat. It is subtle and creamy and never overwhelming. And it makes the whole house smell just right.
After our guests had gone home I asked the boys if they’d enjoyed themselves, and they said they had. Six told me that he wished he had a time machine so he could always go back to the party, that’s how much fun it was.
I cleaned up the kitchen and announced they could sleep with me because we could barely get inside their rooms for all the toys strewn across the floor and not one of us felt like paving a path to their beds. So we snuggled up in mine and they informed me that the party was very nice and all that, but they still liked our old house better and the way it was when we all lived together with Papà.
They do that now. I think they want me to know that as okay as this new life is, the old life was better. “I know,” I say. “I liked it too. But this isn’t so bad, and it will get better.”
It is hard to let go, and I imagine this is part of the process: letting your mother know how much it sucks. It used to kill me when they said things like that, but not so much anymore.
We are all going to be okay. I actually believe that now. Come to think of it, I feel kind of okay already.
It was quiet in my room after that, and I half held my breath, waiting for six to mention the time machine again. I thought he was going to say he’d like to go back to our old house and to the way things were. But he didn’t say that at all. When three complained just one last time for good measure: “All together with Papà! Please!”, six informed his younger brother very gravely but not without kindness that we can’t go back to staying all together forever, that’s just the way it is. And then I repeated all the things the therapist told me to say (which the boys now know by heart but like to hear every so often for reassurance anyway) and we all fell fast asleep.