I am starting to not enjoy shopping at all. It used to be a fun outing for Jenna and I. So, when I went to Walmart yesterday, and the middle boy volunteered to join me, I welcomed his presence in the hopes he would be a welcome distraction. It was not to be. We were both sad.
There is something about going to Walmart, from the time I leave my parked car and enter the store, until the time I check out and return to my car, that makes me miss Jenna acutely. Everything is a reminder of her. I still obsessivley fold out the little toddler seat thingy even through there is no toddler to put in it. Jenna and I had many sweet conversations while she was sitting in those shopping carts and I was pushing it around. So I fold it out in honor of her.
There were girls around Jenna’s age all over the store. I heard the first one before I got to see her. She was having a hissy fit about something and people were staring and exchanging glances with one another, obviously thinking: “What a spoilt child.” I immediately felt for the mom, who stuck to her guns admirably and eventually came out on top. She was obviously feeling harrassed and embarrassed. I wanted to run to her and blurt out that it was OK, and that it was just a ‘moment’, but that soon the hissy fit will be over and she will get to enjoy her little girl again. I am not so lucky.
That was the first time I teared up in the store.
Then there was the little blonde, pony-tailed little girl who was skipping around her mothers’ legs just like Jenna used to do. And the little girl who carried on similar sweet conversations with her mommy at the vegetable stands. At the check-out, we stood behind another little blonde girl who giggled at my son’s attempts to play peek-a-boo with her. I longed to witness Jenna and her brothers having fun together like that again.
The store – no, my whole life – is full of reminders of Jenna. Everything either sparks a memory, or reminds me of an unfulfilled wish. I never got those doll clothes for Jenna that we looked at before our SA trip. There is no-one in the house to buy mozarella cheese sticks for anymore, only Jenna liked them. Those cute shoes at the end of the aisle are no use to Jenna now. She will never get to ride that big-girl bike with her brothers. The list goes on.
The boy and I had several moments yesterday when we would just turn to each other with a knowing look of a shared memory. He teared up several times in the store too. Taking him with me was not a comfort as I had hoped but it was a good time of bonding.
Today was a more weepy day than most. I realise I am not only grieving for Jenna but I am grieving for so much more. She was my only daughter…a heart’s desire come true. At age 42, I know there will not be any more children for me. A heart’s desire snuffed out. No more pink in the laundry basket. Part of me hopes…and I hesitate to say this…that somehow perhaps God will fill my arms again. Yet I know I am not young and time is short. Hubby and I feel an urgency to get prepared for ministry and that is where our priority lies right now.
Jenna was the only toddler in our home. It is a magical time of discovery that I have absolutely loved in all of my children and I miss having it cut off from our lives so abruptly. No more Dora the Explorer for us, no more tickles and giggles and games of peek-a-boo or hide and seek. No more cuddles in front of the tv, or sleepy toddler breath fanning my cheek. No more mispronunciations and childlike interpretations of the world to make us smile. Our lives are just a bit duller and more mundane without our little Jenna to add her spark to it.
I could end this blog off on a semi-high note and find something to say that might sound encouraging. Some spiritual insight or whatever. But I am not going to. I am tired and I need to go to bed. My head is spinning. 🙂 I suppose I can say that through it all I still have hope. I can’t see the forest for the trees more often than not, but I know enough about Jesus to know that he is faithful.
Boy, did this post ever come out differently than what I had planned! I really shouldn’t write so late at night…no more brains left.