The evenings are getting longer, the sun not setting until 9pm. Tonight we let the kids stay up a little later than usual. E wanted to hear Gordon Lightfoot, Sundown. ‘Sometimes I think it’s a shame/ when I get feeling better / when I’m feeling no pain,’ the words ring out to me, and I think it’s true. Both kids are dancing. M loves music and is walking everywhere now in his lurching way; he lurches around the living room now, swinging his hips and raising his arms into the air and grinning. ‘AAhhhh!’ he calls, his pirate talk. E is mouthing the words, serious, trying to learn them all, smiling at her little brother. She takes his hand around one of her fingers and they start to dance in a circle, following each other, E tall and lovely, M still lurching, still grinning, his crazy curls red in the evening light. They go round and round and they are so fucking beautiful. I ache with it, with their beauty, and the love I feel for them. And of course, of course, for her. Because I can’t just simply enjoy them. I can’t just sit – like any ‘normal’ parent – and appreciate the moment for what it is. I have to notice that she is not there. Not here. How could I not? She is always missing, and always so present because she is missing. They go round and round, smiling, laughing, and I ache with all of it: the love, the loss, the happy, the sad, the grateful and the bitter-to-the-end. The song ends and E begs for just one more time. M claps his hands, beaming up at his sister, and we laugh and say, okay, ONE more time and then it’s off to bed for sure.
In case you’re not a Canadian kid of the 70s: