Whisper 1.32

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Shea arrives early the next morning in the pouring down rain.

It feels amazing to see him again.

“Shea! You haven’t changed!” I tell him. “Your head leaves are white, sure, but you look as fresh as ever!”

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I feel so excited. Shea is here! After all these years!

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“There’s really nothing I need to tell you about the baby,” he says. “He’s doing great. Anyway, you know, plants don’t really care for their sprouts. That’s what we have gardeners for. You’re a great gardener, so just, you know carry on!”

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“I do love veggies, you know this,” I tell him. “But truthfully, Shea? I never thought that I would be a mother to a life form in the vegetable kingdom.”

“Do you know why I’m smiling?” he asks. “It’s so artistic, like a wish come true. I have to confess, back in college, I always dreamed of you caring for a  little sprout of our own.”

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That night, while Marigold is upstairs doing her homework, before bed, I might add, like we agreed, Shea, Bobobo, and I spend time together in the front room.

“Did you really dream of this?” I ask Shea.

“In my youth, yes,” he says. “Didn’t you?”

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“I never knew what to dream,” I tell him. “I was confused and clueless. I was very much in love with you, and you were my first best friend in college, but I couldn’t understand your feelings for me. I felt it best just to go along with whatever happened.”

“I remember you used to ask me what plants thought of marriage. Do you remember that? I gathered that being faithful was important to you. You know it doesn’t work like that for plants. I was just so afraid of disappointing you. I couldn’t stand that I might break your heart and smash our friendship. But I dreamed of this! Of course, neither of us had white hair and laugh lines in my dream, but it still feels miraculous to me that it’s come to pass.”

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Funny, how I feel so comfortable with him, even after all these years. It’s not the same type of love that I feel for Dante, which is a love that feels like destiny. This feels more like being with kin, or maybe the way I feel so at home in the forest, among the ferns and trees.

“Your daughter is amazing,” he says. “So smart! I guess she’ll be heading off to college!”

“She’s just a freshman in high school,” I tell him. “We still have a few more years at home.”

“Let me know when you’re starting to fill out applications,” he says. “I know a few of the deans there. I can pull some strings.”

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Early the next morning, he’s out raking leaves. Oh, this brings back memories!

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“D0 you remember our squirrel friend?” I ask him.

“eeeIIshiiiiimaaaaiiioh?” he says. “Of course I do! You know, his great grand kits are still playing outside our old dorm!”

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“Look at all these leaves,” Marigold says as she comes home from school. “Did you rake these?”

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“Whee!”

And then she tosses them all up into the air, and Shea and I laugh.

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We feel like family, Shea, Marigold, Bobobo and I. What if I had let myself dream, back in those long ago days. If I had, then this would have been my dream, too.

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Whisper 1.23

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Marigold is my life. I know moms aren’t supposed to say that–we’re supposed to keep our own independence and not live through our kids and be nurturing and wise and also give them plenty of space for individuation. Yeah, I get all that.

But what I mean is that I am coming alive in a new way through Marigold, and all the everyday rhythms of my life revolve around her. We form our own universe, and I am falling in love like never before.

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Her goofy little face, and those eyes that make me melt!

I’m lucky that she’s so good-natured and easy-going because it would be so easy to spoil her. But she’s spoil-proof.

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I’d always heard that it was hard to take care of little kids, that they cried and fussed and threw tantrums.

But Marigold is so sweet. She spends much of the day playing with Riley, this funny little rag doll that we received from a family that has a tradition of sending dolls and toys to adopted kids.

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Growing up here in Moonlight Falls, Marigold takes delight in our gloomy weather. I grew up in the sunshine, so it’s easy for me to start feeling hemmed in after thirty days of straight rain. But Marigold loves rainshowers.

When I took her for a walk in the pouring down rain, she laughed and giggled and reached out to grab the raindrops.

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She’s so smart. She learned to walk and use the potty quickly. It took her a little longer to learn to talk. Her first words were “shippy saw-saw.” I know she’s really saying “chips and salsa.”

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We pass the winter reading together, cozy inside as the cold world around us falls away.

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“Which one’s different?” I ask her when we read the shape book. She laughs and points to the object that doesn’t fit the pattern.

“Yay! Differ!” she says. It’s her favorite book.

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When Dante drops by, I tell him all about her progress, the new words she’s saying, what she’s learning, the funny things she does.

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“She’s a fantastic kid!” Dante says. “I’ll tell you a secret. I think she looks like you and me. You know, like a mix of both of us.”

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When Dante says that, it triggers something inside of me.

He’s all smiles, but I’m tuning into my heart, and I feel a dream curl up and die.

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I’d been fine with adopting. It seemed like what I wanted, given my situation–like it was a way for me to create a family.

But what Dante said turned my attention to that dream that moms pass on to their little girls. “Some day, you’ll meet a man you love, and you and he will make a child that is the perfect blend of both of you.”

I’d never asked for that dream, but I’d taken it on all the same, and I’d held it sacred in a secret part of my heart.

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It came as part of a whole packet of dreams. A husband who was there every day, contributing to the income, helping around the house, keeping me warm at night. A home full of children with his eyes, my smile, his walk, my laugh.

Maybe I didn’t choose that dream, but it was part of me nonetheless, and facing now the truth that this dream would never be my life hurt.

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I love my life. I adore Marigold. That bunny is my sunshine and my life. I love Dante–I’ve tried, but I can’t love anyone else.

And this life, in its particulars, is so very different from the ideal that had been passed down to me, the ideal that, without even realizing it, I’d staked my future happiness on. And now, I have to surrender and release.

Let go, and see what’s there instead.

I watch that dream wilt, curl, and crumble in black powder. Maybe a breeze will blow through me and carry that black dust out, and I’ll be free inside to look at the mystery and miracle of this life I have which I could never have dreamed up, but which contains so much goodness and wonder.

But before that happens, I need to say goodbye to the legacy of dreams my mother gave me.

Let go. Some realities are more magical than dreams.

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