In the middle of being stuck in sadness earlier this week, as is normal for me with loss of almost any kind—rotating through the first four stages of grief and unable or unwilling to reach acceptance—came potent cheer and healing in the form the loveliest 11-year-old I know.
“I missed you so much!” she grinned widely, hugging us both. And then, falling into step with me, she echoed her mom: “Your hair is so pretty, short like that,” and then “I’m so glad your treatment worked!” And “I love it here, I wish we could stay longer.”
She travels regularly with her father to world destinations infinitely more exciting than Alberta, and I’m honored.
At home, we get all caught up, and later, making plans for the morning and the shopping trip I’d promised, she announces that she has, via iPod app, acquainted herself with West Edmonton Mall and has her shopping list ready to go.
At the mall, we visit Abercrombie and Fitch, where she is strongly drawn to a number of overpriced items. She pulls out her iPod, calculates the sale price, and agrees to look elsewhere, somewhere where we might be able to buy several items for the price of one.
We shop, she has a giant Marble Slab ice cream, and we shop some more, until the rest of us are tired. She has settled on a number of sale items over the over-priced Abercrombie and Fitch ones she’d initially eyed, but still not found the red jeans she’s after. I offer to walk with her to one more store to check, but she tells me it’s okay; she can tell from the look on her mom’s face that she’s had enough; we can always try another time.
She is far beyond eleven years of age—thoughtful, socially skilled, caring, sensitive, unafraid and funny—but also in every way simply an utterly delightful child. Her mom, carrying the bulk of the job of ordinary everyday parenting, as single mothers do, must feel both lucky and proud; she has done well.
We had fun, and I think I may have reached acceptance in those other pockets of my life again, for now at least.