I likely would have felt the sting of tears. But they would have been bittersweet tears. Tears of "I can't believe she is so big" and "I'll miss her at home all day" and "I am so very proud of her." They would have been tears that mark one of a child's greatest milestones....the first day of kindergarten. Instead my eyes burned today with tears of raw, gut wrenching agony. They were tears of missing her in the depths of my soul, of not having held her for three ruthlessly painful years.
I went about my day as if nothing were wrong in my world. I sent one off to our local college, 2 off to high school, along with our foreign exchange student. I sent Moise to his first day of middle school and moved Jamee to her new apartment at SLU. I sent 6 beautiful people off to school, all the while, keenly aware of the one I was not sending. This reality has hung, heavy and burdensome, upon me for several weeks. I felt it as I bought the seemingly endless amount of school supplies, as I met with teachers, and signed papers. This morning like a vice around my heart, I felt the glaring truth that Laynee will never attend school. She will never ride the school bus.
Earlier in the week I gave in to the need to purchase a backpack for her. I chose one that I knew she would love, pink with princesses on the front. I also bought new crayons and markers and placed then in the backpack. I bought them, not because she needed them but because I needed them. I needed to smell them, to touch the tips of each new crayon and feel the weight of the pack on my arm. I needed to see her lovely name printed upon that bright pink fabric. I needed the satisfaction of buying something for my little girl. I needed to remember what should be and forget, just for a moment, that all is not well, that life is incredibly, brutally painful. I took it to the only place that feels like hers........her grave. I hung it there and hope that it tells the story that she cannot, that she is a big girl now, big enough for kindergarten.
She should have started kindergarten today.........but she didn't.
I LOVE YOU SWEET LAYNEE