Wednesday L turns 16. When we moved here, she was not-quite-eight. My mother died a year and a half later, very unexpectedly. We spent the next several years traveling back up to the area she lived in to deal with disposition of things: property, possessions. In the mix, I think I lost several years to glassed-in grief. Although I thought I was dealing with things quite well, in retrospect, I think I was not quite present. We had spoken every single day, and suddenly there was no one to catch the same ironies, the same jokes that are the substance of the everyday.
It's difficult to be fully present in the best of times; I'm hoping I'm there now.
I'd better be; unexpectedly, someone has a beater to unload, and L is hoping to be able to have a car to drive around. But it's a standard transmission, so she'll need to take some time to learn . . . not to grind those gears.