The sun brightly danced around us. The party was bustling with unfamiliar smiling face’s. Except for theirs. I knew them, they knew me. When I entered the party we’d shared a smile and a nod. I wasn’t quite sure how these things were supposed to work but we were trying. I was so happy we were trying. My entire body was full of joy, that I was certain at any moment I might burst from happiness.
I sat with my back against their house, my legs crossed underneath me. I remembered my mother-in-law always bugging The Hubby about his posture so I immediately straightened my back. I grabbed The Hubby’s hand and he smiled at me, saying, “I’m proud of you.”
I felt myself grin. I was so happy to be in that moment, right now.
The festivities began to get under way, though I wasn’t sure what we were celebrating. Everyone had taken their seats, the kids were about to take front and center. His Mom introduced them with her usually witty humor, and everyone laughed. I made a joke, but out of anxiety, I realized that maybe I shouldn’t have even spoke up. Everyone laughed again, and his Mom winked at me.
Then their kids, all of them, took the stage. I felt like I had jumped off a building the moment I laid my eyes on him. There he was, right in front of me, breathing the same air. He was older, not nearly as lanky as he used to be. I stared at him hard, wishing there was a way I could just run to him, to hug him. I just wanted to touch him, to be sure that he wasn’t apparition. Tears fell from my eyes, fluidly. I looked around to see if anyone noticed how I was crying so intensely. No one did.
I continued to watch him through glassy eyes, as the white clouds danced on the glorious blue backdrop. I watched his every movement, the way he smiled, the way his glass sat on his nose. The way he was sometimes a step behind his younger sister, but still eager to keep up with her. I was reminded of A, then of me, and I was full of so much pride, as a mother often is.
They stopped, I assume because they were done performing. I clapped with the rest of audience, still fixated on him. His eyes met mine. My heart stopped. At first, he tilted his head to the right, the same way I do when I am trying to remember something. I held my breath and gripped The Hubby’s hand.
Then his face broke out into a knowing smile, and he waved at me, then made a motion to come see him.
I stood up, smiling, The Hubby pushing my shoulders gently. I made my first step toward The Kiddo.
Then I woke up.
I turned over in my bed, trying to get my bearings straight. I took a deep breath, and then I let myself cry.