Wednesday, June 23, 2010

What She Said

"I have a sister and she's in my heart."

The woman to whom my daughter innocently, even buoyantly, spoke these words looked at me, confused. I stammered apologetically, "she's a twin..." That's as far as I got before she was up, seemingly launched like a rocket from her seat on the low playground equipment. For someone less than a week postpartum, that woman had hustle! She picked up the infant seat holding her six-day old baby, walked over to her other son, and attempted to flee. She didn't make eye contact with me. Her flight was arduous with two in tow and awkward with us trailing behind. Not surprisingly, we were parked in adjacent spaces and there was no pretense of politeness. She pulled that car out as fast as the line of traffic behind her allowed. In the interminable moments of negotiating car seats "cheek-to-cheek", my mind churned and roiled. I had no idea how to interpret the situation clearly and react in a way that would lead to an outcome less shitty -- for either of us. Well into the next day, I'm trying not to think about it, with stunning success as you can see!

If there is any hope of letting it go, I have to write it out. Hey, at least my daughter got off without emotional damage, right? (please agree...) She clearly doesn't understand yet. She has asked me if I am happy that Eva is in my heart. She is fond of telling me that she loves Eva and that Eva is always with her in her heart. Because there are a couple of new babies in our lives, she often mentions wanting to give them baby things and occasionally will add Eva to the list of babies to whom she would like to bequeath some outgrown item. So, no, she doesn't really know what she's lost.

She still has her own hell to pay someday and I dread it like nothing else.


  1. Aud, so many thoughts here. So proud of N. for her wisdom. Of course she has a sister and of course she is in her heart. Why does she need to speak anything but the truth?

    I vacilate between anger and pity for the woman who ran away. I'm undecided, but still bothered by her reaction, as I can see you are as well. And anyone that upsets a friend, well, now they have me to contend with as well. (you need to now picture me inflating my chest like a blowfish and curling my fists as if my flabby arms knew how to manage them).

    And I hope that worth at least a guffaw to lighten this load that is apparently on your heart this morning.

  2. Love your description of yourself gearing up to fight m! I'll stand next to m with my own flabby arms and puff up like a blowfish too. This woman will never mess with you or N again once she's seen us in action!

    Seriously now, this is the reaction that I hate the most. Fleeing. I've experienced it a number of times and it is so difficult to interpret, it really bothers me. Even more so than people who stick around and say something kind of dumb. Like 'it obviously wasn't meant to be' or some such. A clean pair of heels is so much more . . unnerving?

  3. That other mom - I wonder if she's going through some postpartum anxiety. The running seems like such an extreme reaction. I'm sorry you had to deal with this.

    I'm glad your daughter is keeping Eva in her heart, though.

  4. What kind of ninny runs away from a child who is trying to express herself? No matter what issue you're having, you should always be considerate to a little kid who's clearly working something out.

    We haven't had our first experience with this yet. Millie only talks about Rosemary with us and it's still very abstract. I think the idea of a sibling, twin or otherwise, is sort of appalling to her... part of me hopes that it just stays that way.

    My flabby arms are also at the ready to take on all comers.

  5. Thanks, ladies! I believe we have a bona fide crew, a force to reckon with. Be very afraid.

  6. I am sorry this had to happen, though I do not understand why. It instead ought to have been a beautiful and magical encounter, to know a child who truly knows love and keeps her sister in her heart. I would give a million to hear those words in person, and to hug your little girl.