1. A familiar mixture of bittersweet emotion bubbles up as I hold her heavy, sleeping body against my chest in her dark room, drifting off myself. More flashbacks to those first months when we were both borderline insane.
  2. He works from home today. Even though he can’t play with us, his presence throughout the day tangibly changes the atmosphere. All of us feel lighter, more whole.
  3. She tries to run down the steep hill after a chipmunk, then another, then a blue jay. She stumbles and I catch her hand. She’s laughing and excited, and for an hour or so, things are good again.
  4. Duck butts.
  5. Dozens of slinky chipmunks climb over the fallen tree we’re crouched behind. Suddenly, a fat, manky grey squirrel barges in to steal peanuts. He looms in my vision as if he were a full-sized bear. Perspective is all about what you’re used to.
  6. I show her the garden where Mommy and Daddy got married. There’s a little tug on my heart. Twelve days until nine years.
  7. Self-medication. I buy a package of cinnamon bun Oreos and eat a third of them, getting a disturbing amount of satisfaction from biting into the cookies. And I don’t even feel bad about it.
  8. Yet.
  9. The plan is to have a plan.
  10. The whole house is empty–except her (sleeping) and me (typing)–for a little while. I turn off the podcasts, forgo the music, and let the loudest sound be the clicking keyboard. There was a time when I did my best writing in silence.

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