Object Permanence

by Jennifer on February 1, 2015

“Peek-a-boo! Where’d Mommy go?” I covered my face with the towel I was folding in the giant stack of laundry in my lap. Lowering the towel, I pinched my face into an expression of shock.

“There she is!”

Baby E’s eyes squished up as her face broke into a smile. I pulled the towel back over my face and repeated the question. Peeking around the corner so I could see her face, I saw her smile drop and her eyes dart from left to right, searching. To Baby E, Mommy was really gone.

Dropping the towel, I was again met with her glowing smile.

“There she is!”

As we prepare to move again, I’ve been thinking about the way people move in and out of our lives. They are here for a while and then they move on. Life continues and the hole that is left where they would have been had they stayed, is gradually filled in until it seems as though they were never there at all.

When we moved out here a year and a half ago, I was heartbroken by the hole we would leave. My imaginations and aspirations for the lives my kids would have, the way they would grow with their friends, their school, their world, faded away in the mist. My kids were going to be erased from that world; we were going to disappear. We would continue, but in a different place, not the one for which I had planned. Thinking of that world, moving on, without my kids as a part of it was something I’m still trying to get over.

I spent a lot of the last year and a half imagining what would be if we had not left, wondering how K and Little Boy S would be different, if at all, wondering what it would have been like to have the support of our old neighborhood during the health crisis I experienced shortly after we left, wondering what it would be like for Baby E to have been born into “a village” where strong relationships were already established.

Now that we are preparing to reverse the move we made a year and a half ago, I have been thinking again about the hole we will leave in our current life. That hole doesn’t matter to anyone but us, of course. As before, the quicksand will pour in, more quickly this time I’m sure, and fill up the space we would have occupied. The friends Little Boy S has made will move on without him and the picture of him and his pals knocking about as high schoolers one day will dissolve and fade away, as they did the last time. Life out here will continue to exist, just as it did before we came.

And we will still exist, just in a different place, with a different life.

I have this recurring scenario in my mind of the different lives my children and our family could have, spread out on the table before me like a deck of cards and I’m desperately trying to match the cards together to create the best possible combination for each of them. I start grouping the cards, making different combinations, this school, that atmosphere, this friend group, that level of cultural exposure, trying to find the perfect fit. I calculate the positives and subtract the negatives with each combination and become more and more frantic as I keep reshuffling my work, because meanwhile, time is passing and I had better hurry and get it right before it’s too late, before they’ve grown and I’ve made the wrong choices for them.

And I worry that I’ve already taken too much time to make these choices.

So we are moving one last time. Imaginary futures will be packed away into a cardboard box, sealed with a roll of packing tape and tossed into the attic where they will eventually break apart and disappear.

And we will still exist, just in a different place, with a different life.

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Jamie@southmainmuse February 6, 2015 at 5:59 pm

Moving. Such a great image of that hole in your life and how it’s quickly filled as if you were never there. The river of time filling in. Good luck. Time and life keeps moving on. :)
Jamie@southmainmuse recently posted..Let it Go…memories.My Profile

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