Jim and I went to Target today–something we used to do as a family when the girls were little and then stopped doing together when Ana got sick because we’d split up – one parent each to a kid – and then when Ana was somewhat stable, I ended up doing most of the shopping with the girls.
So, it was kind of a sad, strange, and surreal shopping trip to go with Jim (Emily was home painting) and walk past the toys, and kids clothes, and movies, and snacks and just buy boring shit like cat litter and band aids.
We walked past the Halloween aisle without a second glance.
I felt old, like I was in a store meant for young families and there was no place for me. I was sad and jealous and resentful at how broken we were compared to what we used to be. Then I felt guilty for feeling like that. When we left, my heart ached so much – and I thought (for the thousandth time) about how fragile our tiny family was, how fleeting. I mean, it’s kind of absurd that Target is so damn meaningful in the first place. Target, with its holiday aisle and its maniacal insistence on glorifying each stage of childhood, change of season, and holiday with SHIT YOU ABSOLUTELY MUST BUY. I couldn’t get out of there fast enough.
Most days I have moments like these and then they pass, but today the sadness hung on. Today I missed Ana, as usual, but I also missed Ana and Emily, and Jim, Me, Ana and Emily and the family that we were last October and five Octobers ago and twelve Octobers ago.
Damn you, Target.
I’m dreading winter. In a kind of desperate attempt to stave off the dark, cold days ahead, I’ve set up a streaming bird cam using Ana’s old ipad. It’s practically brand new – she got it as a gift last December and used it briefly during hospital visits, but once she got her new phone she rarely touched it. So I charged it, restored it to a blank device, installed Ustream and pointed it at the feeders on our porch. It works pretty well. We’re going to set it up on a tripod and put it in a waterproof case and, voila, I can watch the birds all day while I work.
You can watch too if you want. Here’s a link to the live stream (apologies for the ads, but that’s the trade off for free streaming):
I feel close to Ana when I watch the birds. I find it comforting that so many birds hang around all winter long, even though they can fly away. I mean, I’d migrate if I had wings – wouldn’t you?