So I am suddenly on the mainland. My stepdaughter, the one with the three kids, called me the other day asking whether I could come if she flew me in to help her with the three kids while she managed their move to another state, my son-in-law having been suddenly called in to another job in yet another state this week, and of course, I was thrilled to help. I had only just been lamenting how much I missed them all; children grow so fast at this age, and thinking I might not see them for another year was making me so sad. I was with them in February, but now, the littlest one is not two weeks as she was then, but four months, and that is a big change. The Facebook posts of her big baby smiles was making me weep for not being there to see it.
It took about 20 hours between the initial phone call inquiry and my flight, so as soon as I knew I was really going I raced down to the store for more Legos (Tutu can't come without those!) and on the way broke down in tears. At first I wasn't sure if they were tears of joy, or tears of grief. I was so excited to see everyone again but so deeply sad that Mike wasn't here with me to share in their lives. I know it was a little of both.
I am so grateful for the musician. My boyfriend was immediately supportive and said of course, you have to go...that the dogs love him as much as he loves them, well, it's made this all possible. I can go with a full heart on both sides of that enormous sea.
I haven't spent time in LA since I left in 2001 to move to Hawaii with my beautiful late husband, other than the airport. So here are a lot of memories and friends I am thinking about. It was a big part of my life for a long time. But now, these kids - my step kids, and the grandkids, are the utmost priority. So if I have time to socialize a little with others, I will, but it's not the point.
The point is spending every single second with my four year old grandson, the only one who Mike met and held; the sweet, sensitive little man concerned about everyone, who remembers everything, who listens and records and processes this big new world in his own passionate way. The point is spending every single second with my two year old granddaughter, the sassy, tell-it-like-it-is, don't-tell-me-what-to-do little girl who is clearly going to be a force of nature. The point is spending every single second with that precious new baby girl who Mike named long before he died, in a story that gives chicken skin to anyone who hears it. The one we all know now, was going to come one way or another, with so much of Mike in her.
I never had my own kids. I never raised babies. But I think I'm pretty good at knowing what needs to be done and getting to it. I love the children and they seem to love me; I love being barraged with, um excuse me please (they are taught to be polite) Tutu could you...Tutu can you...Tutu can we...I am loving every single second. Playing games, going to the park, cooking dinner, cleaning up, changing baby clothes, folding laundry, whatever I can do entertain and care for these lovely little souls while boxes are being packed by their loving (and a little overwhelmed mommy) I am happy.
Originally I had pre-posted something I wrote a little while ago for this week, thinking thank goodness I could just do that and not have to take time out for this blog this week after this emergency, I am sure you all will understand that. But today, I was inspired. Today, it was that thoughtful little four year old boy who inspired this post.
One the way out of the neighborhood park this morning he noticed that the flags were at half-mast. Tutu when the flags are down like that it means something sad happened, right? My head being, at the moment, completely in keeping two active children in sight in a busy playground by myself, it took me a moment. Yes of course. The Orlando shooting.
Yes. It means something sad happened. He asked, were there nice people hurt? I told him, yes, there were nice people hurt. He thought for a moment, then asked, did the police come? Yes I said, the police came...he wondered if they got the bad guys and I said yes, they did. He didn't ask more than that. But he looked at the flag with so much emotion as we passed by. I told his Mom what he said when we got home. She said I'd done the right thing...we don't lie to them, but we also don't give more information than they ask for, at their age. But we shared a moment of horror, for the grieving families, and for our own families, who are all trying to process what happened, at all ages.
As we walked out of the park, my two grandchildren wearing their new superhero shirts with capes which I had brought them, after a lot of superhero adventures that morning, I was asked, why are there are bad guys? I said, I don't know. But we are all good guys, in our family. We talked about everyone in our family and what good guys we all are. And I reassured them that in most families we are all good guys. But I didn't try to explain why there are bad guys or where they come from.
It's a really tough question for a four year old brain. It's a really tough question for a 48 year old brain.
I told him, I wish our world only had good guys. He said, me too.
And we walked back home, two miniature, colorful good-guy capes fluttering behind two beautiful, compassionate souls in new, sweet and loving little bodies I felt immensely proud of. That I knew Mike would be immensely proud of.
And as happy as I am to be present for them now, I am devastated for the dozens of new families in grief.
There is just nothing more to say.