We pulled into the parking lot just as a monster and a skeleton were coming down the stairs. They spotted us and ran towards the car, growling and screaming and making ghostly noises. Behind the masks were two little girls intent on scaring us and were delighted when we screamed in terror. They fair danced with glee at our reaction. For the first time in days, we both laughed. They joined in our laughter. It was a terrific moment.
I had seen the 'masks' in the pharmacy's Halloween section. They are wonderfully creative in that they are toques that you pull down over your eyes, with two eye holes crafted such that they fit with the image printed on the fabric. One a 'Frankenstien' face, one a skull with big dark eyes. They come with gloves that match, green hands on one, skeleton hands on the other. On our way home from the Maritimes we decided to stop in Ottawa and go out for breakfast with Mike and the kids. Marissa was off working but Mike sent her pictures of the meal. One of Ruby with the Banana Split Waffle is destined to be a classic in their album.
My overwhelming sadness, held at bay during work hours, eased a bit as I taught, or tried to teach, Ruby to play X's and O's. She didn't see why it was necessary to be always X or always O. She thought it made sense to just put down which ever you wanted when it was your turn. Your turn, was your turn, and you should do what you want with it. After a couple of tries, I gave up and just played by a set of rules that formulated whilst playing. I figure Ruby's only just five, she doesn't need games full of rules right now.
The restaurant was overcrowded and noisy. Music blared from speakers, people blared at each other, we had to almost shout to be heard. But we passed away almost two hours just being together and chatting. Playing 'non-games' and having fun. Afterwards we went to the Dollar store to see how far 5 dollars could stretch. Apparently, to our surprise it stretched all the way to 12 dollars. Rules just weren't too important that day. I followed Ruby down an isle and she skipped along in front of me. She skipped simply because walking didn't make sense to her.
When we got in the car to go home, the sudden quiet was a shock. I laid back in my seat when suddenly a skull face appeared at one window and a monster face at the other. We screamed again. we laughed again, and then it was time to head back into the real world.
I welcomed grief back into the seat beside me. But, instead, it chose to stay in the back seat. I think the monsters scared it away a bit. And I suppose that's the point of childhood isn't it. For children to beat back, in tough moments, the thought that maybe it's really just hopeless. Maybe that's why we decided to take the extra time and travel the extra distance to have breakfast with the kind of monsters that make us laugh. Maybe we needed to be reminded that sometimes an X can become an O just because you want it to. That when it's your turn, it's your turn. And, that, even in a wheelchair, you can skip down the aisle of the Dollar Store.
Kids are great for that aren't they? I hope your "monsters" keep scaring that grief away for you.
Ruby knows the important rules - the rules of the heart, and of compassion. The arbitrary rules of the linear world - she'll learn to follow them when she needs to. Glad to hear that there are some times when the light does manage to shine through the clouds. Take care, Dave and Joe.
Sending you love and wishing I could ease your grief.
Thanks Dave, made me think of some "scary monsters" I know!
I know some little monsters who brighten my day...and that's without the costumes lol
They can lighten my heavy load (until the associated headaches kick in anyway!)
I hope you have the support you need :)
"She skipped simply because walking didn't make sense to her."
You write so brilliantly and never cease to amaze me.
Thank you for all you do and all you share.
You and Ruby are very lucky to have each other!
This is a beautiful story. I am so pleased that this speacial time in Ottawa was able to bring you and Joe some joy amongst this grief of which you speak.
Since I have heard you speak in Moncton last week it is as though I have been on a natural high and a crusade. The impact you have made on me has been incredible. Thank you again. Take care
Ruby's version of tic-tac-toe has been described in elementary math games books. I've tried playing with second graders who find it harder than the usual version, but perhaps that's because they thought that was the only way to play.
Eventually, though, more kids understood that lots of the games we played could have variants and sometimes those worked better than the "real" version.
I love what you write. I love the way you write. You grace me with gifts everyday. Thank you.
grief has been with me the last two days. old grief that hasnt stopped hurting, new grief that is brand new, fresh, and sharp.
i'm sorry you have grief, too. i hope that your loved ones surround you with hugs and that the love helps buffer the aches.
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