A year ago today, my husband left our house with two duffle bags looking like he was going on a long trip. He hugged and kissed our girl. Told her he'd see her tomorrow. He said goodbye to me like it was any other day. Then he got in his car and drove away. We stood in the doorway and my daughter waved like mad. Of course, she didn't get that that was The Moment, but she knew that Daddy wasn't going to be sleeping at our house anymore and that night I held her as she—we—cried and cried. And as I sit here now, I can barely make out the words on the screen the tears are coming so fast. I always think these days should be easier. That it still shouldn't feel so new and fresh and raw. That I shouldn't feel so exhausted that I fall asleep at 7:30 with my daughter and sleep through till morning, which is what I've done all weekend. I should have been working during those precious few hours to myself. Or at least folding the laundry. But even that's been too much.
Last night, we were invited to a neighbor's barbeque. I knew only the one couple, but there were several families there, tons of kids, good food, excellent margaritas and a warm welcome. Miss Monkey disappeared into the mix immediately and I did my best to mingle and smile and have some fun. I was glad for the diversion and really did have a nice time, but I still couldn't stop focusing on how much I wished my life was like everyone else's. I wanted to be the one having the big holiday party filled with friends and neighbors. I wanted to have house full of kids and chaos and the husband whipping up drinks and building the fire in the backyard. Instead, I was the random guest. The one who's really grateful to have somewhere to be but knows deep down she belongs somewhere else. I just wish I knew where to find it.