Fall is officially here and has no qualms about bringing back all of the memories from two years ago. I wonder if those memories will ever fade. Not that I want them to, but I wish they wouldn't sting quite so much. I stepped outside this morning to go grab a coffee and it hit me like a ton of bricks, in a way that it hadn't in a while. I saw the leaves all over the ground, the same leaves I've seen for the past week or so, but for some reason, today they brought tears to my eyes. I suddenly remembered walking through the leaves to get into the car when I was in early labor. The smell in the air, for whatever reason, somehow filled my entire body. Smells are my worst fear. I know how crazy that sounds. Smells trigger the most distinct memories for me. You can block something from your sight, you can block something within earshot, you can even block something from your mind if you try hard enough. But smells hit you hard and fast and by the time you communicate to your brain that you don't want to think about it right then, it's too late, because it's already there. And once it's there, you can't get it out. The other day, sitting in my car driving home from work, I could smell A's birth father. I could smell the way his sheets always smelled back when it all started, in the fall of '07. In reality, I'm sure they always smelled that way (unless he switched detergents!) but I distinctly associate that smell with that particular time. This morning, it was the autumn air. It crept up on me, and suddenly (and all at once), I saw myself in his driveway, covered in leaves, working on his Impala five years ago. When it was all new. I saw him and myself walking into the movie theater to see The Secret Life of Bees four years ago. He so did not want to go see that movie, but I begged and begged him to go with me. I saw myself walking into the emergency room doors of the hospital, with a huge belly, the walkway covered in leaves, two years ago. I saw myself walking to class with an apple cider in hand, through the parking lot covered in leaves (also with a giant belly), two years ago. The smell of fall somehow sneaked into my nose and morphed into these four images all at once in my mind.
I guess Fall is so hard for me because I think of two of the things (people) I loved the most and how they are no longer "with" me. My daughter is with me in my heart always. And I know she is only a mere hour or so away; not that I can go see her whenever I please or anything even remotely close, but I know she is still "with us" literally. But not in the way I would like her to be. Her birth father is only a mere fifteen minutes away now, and although my feelings towards him have changed drastically over the past two years and I no longer yearn with every fiber of my being to be madly in love with him again, he is still not "with" me in the way I would have wanted. No, I don't want that now. I want "us" back. But I want the "us" that we were five years ago back. Too much has changed, and too many true colors have been brought to light, so I know we never can be and never will be that "us" again. I've accepted that. I've let go of him, but I need to let go of the old "us." I guess people can change, and I'll never say never because I haven't a clue what the future holds for either of us. But once you've broken something fragile, even if you have all the teeny tiny pieces, you can glue them together but something will always be different.
Speaking of her birth father, his grandmother just passed away. If you could please keep him and his family in your thoughts, I would appreciate it. He had taken this upcoming week off from work to go to NC to visit her because he had heard that she had gotten very ill, very quickly. I feel terrible that now he will be taking the trip down there for a different reason. We spoke last week and he was really excited that we had gotten new photos of A (Yes, I got new pictures!) and he was going to take his copies down there to show her. There was one picture in particular, where he said she looked exactly like his mother. He was floored. He was so excited to show his mom and grandmother. He can still show his mom, but he was more focused on showing his grandmother. I know he has his ways, and I don't agree with a lot of his actions (past or present) but he will always have a special place in my heart and I truly feel for him now.
Well, I'm off for now. I volunteered to work from home here and there for the long weekend, and I'm not doing anything right now, so I may as well put an hour or two in.
But before I go, look at this little princess! She has grown so much since I last saw photos. I can't believe she will be two years old in less than a month.