Hannah is always first, because if I wake Charlotte up, even a bit, I will have to either race from the room before she wakes all the way—meaning that I have to skip Hannah—or I will end up sitting with her until she falls asleep again.
So last night, I climbed up to kiss Hannah. I felt around the bed for her—she likes to make a nest and disappear—and then I remembered. “They’re with Thomas.” Not with me. And, lest you think I’ve completely lost it, it wasn’t that I’d forgotten where they were. It was complete reflex. Muscle memory. Heart memory. Whatever you want to call it.
They spent a couple of days with Thomas last week and Sunday, of course, but I’d been so exhausted from the seemingly interminable move and starting a new job and working late on the nights they were with him and then coming home to unpack boxes and trying to create a bit of order somewhere that, though of course I missed them, I hadn’t had time to notice how quiet and hollow and empty the house felt. How I felt.
I worked late again tonight, but the minute I got home and put the key in the lock I began to cry. That’s one way (though absolutely not recommended) to season your scrambled egg dinner when you can’t remember in which box you packed the salt.
So tonight, I vacuumed. I unpacked more boxes. I worked. I wrote this. I did laundry. And the dishes. And talked to my BIL and to my sister. And unpacked more boxes and worked a bit more. I made Charlotte’s bed so it wouldn’t still look like there was a little person in it, though that seemed like a good idea last night. I put on their bedtime music and tried to convince myself that it will get better. Everyone says it will. Maybe it will. But not today.