An earring on the ground

I decided tonight I want to quit my job, live off the government and hang out with my daughter all day.

Then it occurred to me that isn’t an option. Kalista’s practically an old lady. She has multiple cats and goes to school every day. Plus I’d eventually get tired of just cleaning my house.

THE REALITY IS there will come a day when she doesn’t believe in Santa Claus. There already has come days when she doesn’t want to blow me a kiss as she’s leaving my car for school because she’s afraid someone will see. And I just try to pretend like the big, fat liar I am that it doesn’t bother me.

I have issues with letting others into our world in fear it will upset the balance. I allowed it once; it was disastrous. It might have been a lapse in judgment, for which I shouldn’t be so hard on myself and maybe try again, but I’ll always look back on this time as time lost with my child. Purely, simply gone. You know the last few minutes of sunlight on a summer day that’s been perfect? Ever try to make them last longer than minutes? That’s what I’m doing right now.

The twilight of my daughter’s childhood.

I GET KIND OF SAD when I see on Facebook my friends’ children at ages Kalista used to be. Some of them have parents who are tired, overworked, frustrated, sarcastic. I envy them. For me, it’s too easy now. I almost regret – selfishly – working so diligently to make Kalista self-sufficient and to clean up after herself. To help her reach a level academically where she really doesn’t need my help with homework. People commend me on the “job” I’m doing, making her so mature.

What the Hell did I go and do that for?

I SUPPOSE THIS IS why people get married and have more children – to prolong the feeling of being needed. Kalista came up to me tonight, after we’d eaten dinner, done some chores around the house and after she’d finished her shower and dressed herself in a bathrobe over pajamas and wrapped a towel around her head, after I’d cleaned the kitchen and started the dishwasher and a load of laundry, and said, simply, “I love you,” and wrapped her arms around my waist.

She hadn’t done that in a while.

“What will I do without her someday?” I thought.

What will I do, not so long from now, when all I’ll have to worry about is my job and a dog? What will my life be like when I can vacuum on Monday and still have a clean carpet on Wednesday? What’s going to happen to me when it takes five weeks to build up a load of whites to fill the washer? Who’s going to be around to appreciate the flowers I plant outside in the spring or the mums I put on the porch in the fall? Will I still bother decorating for Christmas?

And if the Bills should win the Super Bowl between now and then … what will I have to look forward to? Just snippets and milestones and moments that remind me of the day I navigated a busy intersection to retrieve a $5 slip-on shoe after it fell off her foot while she was riding in her child seat on my bicycle because it would’ve crushed her to lose one of her ”sparkly” shoes?

Yes. That’s all I will have.

THERE IS TRULY no place in my life for someone who does not understand this. No place near my heart, that is. Recently at my work – a hospital – I found a single earring on the floor and turned it in to the nearest nurses’ station. Gaudy, plastic-looking and bent, it looked like something once worn by a child.

“We can leave it at the desk for a few hours and see if someone comes back for it, but it isn’t worth anything,” one nurse said.

The moment took me back to the day I risked my life for one of Kalista’s shoes.

“Thank you,” I told her. “It might be worth something to someone.”k

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