Innocently she asks, “You weren’t there. What were you doing?”
She is still a toddler yet she already is aware when someone is not present for a special occasion. The confusion was in her eyes about how this could be so. The knowledge of being missed by her was bittersweet. Learning that I let her down cut sharper than the reason behind the absence. She ran off to gather her prized doll and brought her to me. The olive branch of forgiveness had been extended. Hopefully, she also has the gift of forgetting too.
Later I watched as she bounced through her make-believe world, creating a family of grandma, mama, sister and baby. She laughed. She ran. She built castles in the sand and squealed with delight after jumping in the midst of it, watching it crumble and fall. She has no idea how every expression and every giggle squeezes my heart, leaving me gasping for breath. I can’t imagine a world without this child. I hope I never learn what it would be like to not know her or have her love, trust and respect. I can’t imagine what it will be like to watch her journey through life as she faces yet more times when I will not be there for her.
Little did I know that when I divorced her mother that the division would create such a chasm in her heart. And mine. With innocence she asks, yet with respect I cannot tell her that I was deliberately shut out. They say that ignorance is bliss; I say that not knowing is a very strategic and effective stab to the heart.
I’m looking forward to the day when the knife is no longer able to be twisted.