The rise and fall of days are often measured by the small things. Separating folded laundry: mine, BC's, and The Kid's; days when The Kid is here, often sweet, often too loud, and a lot of fun; days when she is not, grateful for the adult time, relishing the quiet, and missing her; BC and I cleaning up the kitchen after dinner, the rhythm set with ease, few words needed and it gets done quickly.
During this long stay with BC, I find myself stunned at how much I can feel sad at The Kid's departures, how much her stories about life at her other mom's home can pull at me which leaves me wondering about how much it must stab at BC. At other moments I count the days or even hours before the house goes still again. On Christmas Eve were at Uncle J's house with all his kids and an assortment of other guests. The Kid got hurt playing with one of her cousins, twisted her ankle in an odd way - her cousin fell on her (they were playing horse and rider). The next morning, after opening presents (how fun is that to do with a kid who thinks everything they get is awesome!), BC decided she should be looked at by a professional. Calling the other mom, the three go off to the ER, which is how it should be. It was odd to be left at home, presents unwrapped, no one here, and knowing that The Kid would not come home since noon was when she would do her second Christmas at her other home. Luckily there were no breaks, she came back with a boot and crutches (a totally cool thing to the almost 9 year old). It felt odd not to continue to take care of her, to not be able to check the swelling. But the time alone with BC was just as precious. This conflux of emotions is my daily bread now.
Tonight I heard the car struggling up our snowy drive (BC has a tiny car and probably should have taken my work horse) and I moved to the back door in the kitchen. Turning on the outside lights I waited as they unloaded themselves in the garage. Looking out the sliding doors I noticed night sky, the light falling snow caught in the bright lights, and the snow drifts on the deck obscuring the bench, covering the green plastic Adirondack chairs and found myself smiling. This is not exactly the life I pictured for myself - living in essentially a suburb, waiting for my partner and child to come in from the cold, being happy to see them even though I am sick. And yet this may exactly where I belong, where I feel at home. These are my thoughts in the few moments between the car pulling into the garage and walking to the door to greet them, where I swept The Kid into my arms and swung her around. Just because.