But now? Your friends have left elementary school and now middle school behind, and I find myself trapped in a cycle of wishful thinking. Here I grasp at what should be and come to grips with what is.
Gone are their round faces, Addie. They have cheekbones now. And cell phones, of course. All have grown taller. So. Much. Taller. They've experimented with makeup; and by now they've gotten it right. The boys' voices are deeper, Addie. And a few of them have caught the eyes of your friends.
They've grown up.
Like I wanted you to do.
But your line on the door jamb downstairs won't ever move.
And so, I'm left with the things I wish.
I wish there was a homecoming dress hanging in your closet. Something we'd picked out a week or so ago. It'd be short, but not too flashy. Classy, I bet. A compromise we'd arrived at after hours of scouring various shops at the mall.
There'd be heels to match. In two weeks you'd stand in those heels and talk about how impossibly uncomfortable they are. In front of the fireplace probably. There'd be a smile on your face, a hand on your hip. You, Addie. And minutes after you'd left for the dance, I'd post photos on Facebook and type these exact words: Where did the time go?
I wish I knew what it was like to comfort your hurting heart. When the boy you so desperately wanted to ask you to dance didn't. I'd take that. I'd take your hurts. Over this.
I wish I could see your crookedy smile grow into something beautiful. There would have been braces, Ad. Before pictures. And afters.
I wish I could glance over at the passenger seat of my car and see you sitting there. Perhaps you'd be messing with your phone. Texting. Or Snap-chatting. Nine year olds don't get to sit in the front seat of the car. They don't have phones either. So I'd take a moment with you by my side, doing your best to ignore me.
I wish I knew what it felt like to hand over the car keys, watch you pull out of our driveway, and drive the one and a half miles to school. By yourself. Your friends can do that now. I wish I knew what it felt like to hold my breath. For five minutes, maybe six. And then let it out once I knew you'd safely arrived.
I wish I was juggling the activities of four kids, not three. Don't get me wrong, Addie. Our nights are full; weekends, busy. But not busy enough. I'd love to know what it feels like to take in a pee-wee football game, shuttle a 7 year old to soccer practice, and skate into the gym just in time for your JV volleyball game.
I wish you'd had a chance to volunteer at the Humane Society.
And learn Spanish.
I wish you'd had a chance to try out a musical instrument.
And abandon it a couple of years later if you so choose.
I wish you were struggling to get your reading log completed. To understand algebra.
I wish we could go shopping. Just the two of us. Occasionally we'd let Landry come too.
I wish you were here for her.
And for Isaac and Tripp.
I wish there were clothes strewn all over your bedroom floor.
I wish we'd fight about it too. I'd take the occasional eye roll. Shouting match. Slamming door. I'd take anything.
I wish I could watch you adjust to high school, taking steps and missteps as you try to figure out how you can pack it all in, get it all done. Occasionally I'll ask one of your classmates how their year is going. I did it today. Those who indulge me and my questions have no idea how much I'm grasping. Just trying to imagine where you'd fit in to all of this.
I wish. I wish. I wish.
I wish you'd walk through the door. Right now. We could talk about what you did tonight. Where you went. Who you were with. Like it was totally normal and we'd done it hundreds of times before.
I wish I could have one more minute with you.