Every cloud has a silver lining. Right now Myra-Jean’s is distinctly Daddy-shaped.
The up side to my working three days a week? She gets more time with him. By about three thousand per cent. Her entire life there’s been me at home, and Mike working. Usually 50-hour weeks. Sometimes she’d go days barely seeing him. That’s all changed. Now, as they spend more time together–and not just weekend “Let’s go to the carousel!” time–her father’s form is filling in for her. He becomes more familiar every day–in the true sense of the word. And she to him. Their love, already deep, is growing wider. More solidly drawn. And more quotidian. Which everybody knows is the best kind.
It is a huge boon for all of us.
So today, while I sold silver on the east side, Mike took MJ west. To the silver-shored sea.
It was a drive–an hour and a half each way–but he wanted to show her some tidal pools. He did, and more. There were pelicans. A pod of dolphins. A seahorse (of dubious authenticity). And a sea cucumber (authentic, although who’d know?) Even a helicopter in a parking lot. The latter, of course, was her favorite. But it was all damn good. Or so I was told.
And weirdly–although I wasn’t there–I enjoyed the trip with them. My body may have been in Pasadena, sheathed in a snug black dress, but my heart was ocean-bound, enjoying their enjoyment, watching my own absence with a bittersweet pleasure. I was there when they first saw the sea. When they spread their wool plaid blanket. When Mike lifted MJ high to the sky. When they wet their pale feet in the surf.
There. And not there.
Mostly the latter, of course–there was no sand in my shoes when I got home. But I did receive a jar of it. One they’d gathered together on their trip. Just for me.
I loved it–said I’d keep it forever. And I will.
As for the memories? They belong to the two of them.
Fortunately they’ll share.