I had a conversation in the car this morning with the little lady that made my heart stop for a second. It isn’t uncommon to have moments where I stop and wonder how truthful I should really be with her. She’s an intuitive little soul so lying to her outright is out of the question. I have been struggling to find the words to just tell her that I think that the answer is complicated and if she wants to talk about it later we certainly can. That’s working for now.
She is the “child of the week” at school and this morning she wanted to bring a They Might Be Giants CD to share with her class. I hit play on the CD player to look for the TMBG CD and the first song that came through the speakers was one off the CD of an old friend of mine. The music started and Em immediately said “Oh, Mom. We haven’t seen Timmy in so long. I hope we can see him soon. I miss him.” I laughed. I don’t know why he made such an impression on her but he certainly did. Either that or she knew how important he is to me and picked up on that. (Em recently met another old and very dear friend of mine, Amanda, and she has taken to dropping Amanda’s name in conversation lately.) She asked me “Can we call Timmy, Mom?” I answered “Not right now, baby. It’s super early in the morning. But we will call him soon. I miss him, too.”
She thinks. “Did you love Timmy when you were a little girl, Mom?” Straight to the point, that’s my girl. “I did, Em.”
“So you loved Timmy and then Daddy and then Mike?” This was a good opportunity for me to gloss over a few facts. Like how I loved the first boy, and then Timmy, and then a boy that was unlike any other boy I’d ever love, and then a boy Timmy introduced me to, actually, and then a boy in college that traveled the globe and then a boy that became a man before my eyes and then I met Daddy. And then the lines between “in love” and “love” got really messy. So I opted to go with a simple “Yup.”
“And now you are in love with Daddy and Mike?” I could feel my eyes get wet. “No, honey. I am in love with Mike. Daddy and I both love you very much and we will always be each other’s family.”
She sighs. “Oh, did you break Daddy’s heart?”
There are a million answers to that question. “No more-so than he broke mine.” “Yes.” “No.” “Who knows? He’d never tell me.”
I paused. “No, Emily. Daddy and I were very young when we met. Just like you were young when we met you.” She laughs. “So, Daddy and I lived together for a long time, and we grew up and we now we don’t live together anymore. Just like one day you will not live in my house anymore, but I will always love you. And I don’t live with Annie or DonDon, right, but I love them. And I certainly didn’t break their hearts.”
My answer was all over the place. And intended to distract her. But it was honest.
She thought. And as she opened her mouth to reply I thought oh please, can we just get to school, can this conversation be over?
“This is a good song, Mom. You know Timmy was alive in the twentieth century. This is a song about real life.”