Due to a school closure, P and I had long-planned today's Girls' Day Out. When originally asked what she wanted from the day, all I got from P was, "I want to do some playing." Really kid? Playing? You don't say! What else do three year olds do but eat, sleep and play?
We crammed a lot into our time; bus rides, the park, lunch, shopping for cheap tat jewellery at Claire's and a bucket of dinosaurs from the toy shop, a viewing of Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, and a gourmet cupcake purchase for The Dude. She selected one with bright pink frosting, rightly assuming that the colour would please him greatly.
I am utterly, all-consumingly shattered right now, but high on the fact that I have a daughter I can do these things with. I'm not much of a girly-girl, ok, other than my fancy shoe and Johnny Depp fixation I'm really not at all a girly-girl, but I love visions of lunching and shopping with P - two girls out on the town.
I am rather sentimental about it all at the moment anyway, so pardon me for sounding like the classic working Mom, proud of the fact that she's spent ONE WHOLE DAY with her child alone. A colleague recently lost her two year old due to SIDS, so I've been quite precious when it comes to P as of late. I don't know this woman very well, but she's about my age, and she was pregnant with her first not long after I was. I never saw her daughter until the week before she died, when I passed them as I was leaving work; I was holding P, she was holding her daughter. I was comparing her daughter's size to P's, as I do obsessively - a residual long-lasting effect of having a baby born early with serious reflux.
I know it sounds so stupid, but with death I always struggle with the whole notion of here one moment, gone the next. With children this is multi-faceted, because I have spent far too much time trying to remotely fathom what the mother is going through. I don't even have the words to describe how little I am able to comprehend the whole situation.
This is why I'm teary each time P says something like, "We two girls love each other Mum!" and "I'm so excited about Girls' Day Out! No boys allowed, right Mum? No Dad, RIGHT MUM?" In ordinary times my heart would twinge slightly, now I inadvertently go to that dark place I'd rather not go and wonder how I would deal with never hearing similar things again.
It doesn't bear thinking about, but I don't know how to banish those thoughts from my head these days. At night I try not to listen to each breath she expels from the next room; as soon as I start, I'm awake for ages ensuring that one follows the other as it should. I attempt to convince myself that such dreadful occurances are thankfully rare, but I've always been cursed with the overriding thought that if these things are going to happen to anyone, they'll happen to me. I also hate myself for being so melodramatic about it - these concerns of mine are based on the actual experience of someone I know, and I am carrying on about what ifs. This poor woman has to live it, and here I am agonising about hypotheticals.