It still surprises me when she comes down the stairs in the morning wearing her spectacles. I am not used to them. And even though she looks so ridiculously cute in them that I just want to squeeze her, I don’t want to be used to them. I want Ella back — the Ella without bangs and without glasses and without eye-patches.
Last night she was outside blowing bubbles. She had her eye patch on, and her glasses on, and I remembered back to a couple of years ago to when she was blowing bubbles. I had taken pictures of her. She had long strands of red hair that swept across her forehead and ended in ringlets around her shoulders. Her skin was fair and without freckles, and her eyes were pools of blue surrounded by long strawberry lashes. I sat there looking at her now, and remembering her then, and my heart ached a little. I couldn’t see her eyelashes – there was a glare. I couldn’t see her eyes. I missed the ivory-faced baby girl to whom everything was magical, and to whom life had not yet thrown a curveball.
Sometimes at night, when they are all asleep, I sit by their beds, and whisper things to them. These things I tell them would get lost in the chaos of our waking hours…when they are home from school and the homework needs to be done, and the sports are starting up, and supper needs to be cooked, these quiet words are lost. So at night, when nothing can interrupt me, and no one can roll their eyes at me, I tell them.
I tell William to work hard. I tell him that he is strong. And I tell him that I believe in him, and to never give up on his dreams. To Kate I whisper of her goodness, her innocence. I tell her that I love it when she plays her viola, that her music is beautiful. I whisper of horses and flowers and books…these things we both love. I tell Ella that I adore her, that she is my precious, sweet baby girl. I tell her that I love watching her play basketball, and that her reading is very good.
Sometimes I start to whisper in his ear. And then I remember that he can’t hear me. And that same, visceral ache to one of life’s curveballs arises in me. He won’t hear that he is awesome. He won’t hear how smart he is, or that he is a leader, or that he has a good heart. He won’t hear that he is going to do something big someday.
I tell him anyway.
I brush the hair from his forehead, run my finger down the length of his freckled, perfect nose, and I tell him.