If I could, I’d kiss your bottom lip one more time.
If I could, I’d wear your XL T-shirt like a dress and dance in your kitchen with a soup spoon while baking chocolate chip cookies.
If I could, I’d trace a heart on your back with my left hand and write “forever and always” with my right.
I can’t though.
What’s gone is gone, and I no longer own soup spoons.
Instead, I get takeout and pretend home is wherever I am.
It’s not, though.
This place is not home.
Some say you can close your eyes, place your hand on your heart, and imagine home is wherever you are.
It’s not the same, though.
I want it to be, but nothing is familiar.
Home was melting cheese on top of white bread in your toaster oven at 10 p.m. and pretending I was a chef.
Home was folding your dark socks and standing in front of your 20-something XL T-shirts and selecting the one I wanted to wear before crawling into your bed.
Home was drinking out of your carton of orange juice and rearranging the cupboards so I could reach the small plates.
This was home, and I truly loved it.
I want to go home, but your address is no longer mine.
So I bought my own toaster and no longer drink juice from a carton.
Today, I drink juice from a glass and wear my own T-shirts to bed.
This isn’t what I wanted, but here I am.
After I got out of the shower tonight, I drew a heart on the mirror around my reflection with my left hand and wrote, “forever and always,” with my right.
Acceptance is hard, but home truly is wherever I am.
I now close my eyes, find those evergreen trees, and grab ahold of the hand of that little girl inside me who is crying for mom.
She needs someone to pick her up.
She needs someone to read her bedtime stories.
She needs someone to tell her she is safe.
Maybe I don’t feel ready, but someone has to pick her up.
That person can only be me.
Somehow, I need to stand back up again.
I need to get dressed.
I need to keep going.
I need to finish this Ph.D.
This little girl and the little baby within me need my help.
They need me to buy my own soup spoons and have me show them how to use the toaster oven.
They need a mom.
They need me.