I finally talked to my kids. What a relief. Frankly, "relief" is such an understatement. There really is no identifiable emotion for what it felt like to hear the sweet cheery voice of my daughter after so many days. I could breathe again. That's what it was like.
Ever had to hold your breath for waaaaay too long? And then when you finally can let it out and inhale again you have that gasping choppy rapid breathing your body forces you to do so you can get all the air you NEED? It was like that - only with out the actual gasping choppy breathing but just the emotion of it.
I saw them for a date night - I'd promised a trip to the mall for some school clothes. It was a successful trip with each kid getting something exactly that they wanted. Now, let me clarify here that I am not a "disneyland parent" - that parent that doesn't have full time priveledges and so buys every trinket or big ticket item the kids desire to make up for it. I'm not that... I wouldn't be even if I could afford it but the truth is that I can't afford it at all. I can't afford anything for my kids in general other than food and it bothers me tremendously that my finances are that tight. Most of the time I actually have to plan out and ration money so carefully just so I'll have enough gas to drive out and see them or to drive them back and forth from their house to mine. It's a tight tight existence walking on a fine line with such a load of debt in one hand and the desire to be with my kids in the other. However, I have been pinching and stretching and saving for months now so that I could do this thing: I bought most of their school supplies (not all, but most) and decided that each kiddo could pick that one special thing they HAD to have for school this year: an $80 hoodie would be worth it because it would likely be worn daily for the first 6 month beginning in the Fall and extending through Spring.
I had the luck to hit a fabulous sale weekend and spent less than anticipated and each beloved kiddo was thrilled. It matters. Not that they have this greedy want list, but that I could provide this one thing that was important to their hearts and spirits. They aren't little kids wanting the newest toy - they are teens wanting to be accepted, socially appropriate, to be understood and supported. I know that feeling, remember it all too well, and every midnite shift I worked was worth being able to give them some kind of gift that lets them know I hear them. It's a wisp of love - just like when I sat and watched youtube videos with my son or when I play yahtzee with my daughter or when we play word games on our hour long drive - little wisps of love that I breath on them. This particular wisp will be tangible which is important also. Some actual "THING" that I could give them.
I dream of the day I will tuck them into bed at night and wake up to cook them breakfast in the morning - day after day after day. I dream of packing lunches, sighing over forgotten homework, and griping about unmade beds. I dream of it as vividly as if it were happening and by doing so I hope the universe gets the message and breathes a little wisp of love my way.