"When someone is in your heart, they're never truly gone.
They can come back to you, even at unlikely times." — Mitch AlbomI zipped Millie's coat and gathered my own, getting ready to brave the cold to take a couple trash bags outside. She noticed a package from Grandma sitting at our doorstep, so we set everything down again to peek inside it first. I had barely gotten the front door closed when she exclaimed, "Pa-pa!" My dad walked in, followed by a boy in uniform. Millie jumped up and down. I looked at Sky for a second, in all the confusion, then (I'm told) said blankly, "What are you doing here?" He grinned.
Somehow, my dad and Sky had managed to pull of a surprise. I laughed at him as I hugged his rough nametape against my cheek, and thanked him for the bouquet that Millie had promptly taken from him before I could really see it. My dad said goodbye, Millie pulled Sky's hand and begged for him to play, and I stopped to take in the moment that everyone else seemed to accept as uneventful. My Valentine's Day started about 13 hours after everyone else's had ended.
He was here for two and a half days, and we tried to make the most of them. We ate good food, and took delicious naps when Millie did. I grabbed his hand anytime I felt the baby begin to kick, and he got to see the tiny ripples it would make on my belly when it danced. We read Millie's new favorite book together, and exchanged secret smiles as she would take the book from us and 'read' it herself. We went to our favorite greasy spoon in town and watched them pour pancakes and sizzling eggs onto the long griddle. And on the last night, my dad kept Millie for a while so we could have a quiet date night eating fried pickles, walking lazily through Target, and sipping iced Starbucks. I think we held hands the whole two and a half days.
|(Sky and a baby with a mouth full of bacon)|
And now the house is quiet again. Completely settled. It's almost as if it didn't even happen, but my heart knows better. The clock ticks more noticeably than before. And I think to myself, I can't do this again, but the again part reminds me that I've done it before. He didn't want to wake me when he left because he didn't want me to cry. He should know by now that I'm good at holding it in until I close the door behind him and feel the empty parts of the house around me. It's one of those moments I don't really want to be in, but it needs to happen and it always does.
|(my lovely bouquet)|