My little ones are anxiously awaiting our little trip. They've packed their bags and are hopping in the bath. I haven't packed yet. I've had time, but I got frustrated that I couldn't find a component for my laptop while I was packing and that sorta ended that little task. I wish she were here; I could let her pack and I could go run. Running will calm you down if for no other reason than the energy zapping drain of the endless miles of solitude; nine minutes at a time (or whatever your pace). That's what I need; four or five quick miles would do the trick. But I can't leave the kids alone that long; my Teen gets scared if I leave them alone when it's dark out (she's not as grown up as she pretends to be). It's too last minute to call anyone. And the treadmill is buried behind my spare PC's and monitors in the office. Excuses...I know.
I got out some baby pictures of the kids. I thought we could look through them and that might get my thoughts away from everything else. But the Teen was completely disinterested and kept interrupting as I showed the two little ones; that only fueled my previous disposition. So I put the pictures away and have been staring at my old, flickering monitor since.
Today, when in search for missing computer parts, I found Mindy's brown pants; she had several that color but these will always be associated with one of my more embarrassing memories. I thought that I had put away all her clothes; most of them are packed away in the attic. I can't get rid of them but I don't want to see them either. She was wearing these pants as we walked down the hallway to the break room at our office when we worked together...way back in 1998. I lied to her about my age because she made comments about not dating younger guys; this would be the day she found out. As we walked there was an awkward silence so I blurted out "Are those pants brown?" as if I was suddenly color blind and seeking reassurance. She laughed, and not because I was funny. We would eventually make it to the break room and have lunch together, which was a rarity because of our schedules. About an hour after lunch that day she would come seek me out again, this time she stormed right up to me and said "Hey, can I see your driver's license?" and I reluctantly got it out while my mind raced to find words to explain myself as I was not yet even 20. In the end I didn't have to, not about that. Over the years what we both remembered about that day was my stupid comment about her pants...these pants.
Today she is wearing blue jeans with a white button up shirt and a green sweater thing (fashion is not my strong suit) with no shoes. That's what she'll wear everyday from now on, that's what my mother and Aunt Jen picked out for her. Her hair is all in curls which she liked and her makeup is done. But you can't tell now that her beautiful green eyes really stand out when she wore that green thing. On her left shoulder sites three red roses and a heart to represent our children. I forget what the heart says...but it made me cry at the wake.
Our Teen is getting big enough to wear some of her mothers clothes now, but they are mostly put away. She informed me today that she is an inch shorter than her mother. She's also one six pounds lighter than Mindy was when we got married. She pointed me out in some of the older pictures tonight and said I looked young. I was six years older than she is now in these pictures. My beautiful green eyed girlfriend was just 23 and the little girl in the picture with us now sitting next to me was just 2. We were all smiling, oblivious to the fact that we wouldn't all be together just 10 years later.
My mom used to tell me that life isn't fair. When I was young I thought how ridiculous; if people made the effort then everything could be fair. How naive to think that we can control everything, to think we can stop people from dying at such a young age. Mindy left two unfinished projects, I think I'll hang them in my room just as they are; a reminder that life isn't fair. Next to them I'll hang her paintings to remind me that life is beautiful while it lasts.
I don't know if any of this will make sense when my kids read it years from now, but I feel a little better. I feel relieved of some of the anger, and for now that's what I needed.