I remember this same feeling last year. Taking E skating and moving haltingly around the rink with her while her friends whizz by. Last year she didn’t care. This year, she looks a bit wistfully after them, and tries a little burst of speed after they pass her by before she nearly tumbles and slows back down. She’ll get there. This will be the year she really learns how to skate and soon she’ll be keeping up just fine. She’s strong and coordinated and determined, if not terribly daring. I watch her notice that she’s behind and – as it so often does – my heart aches for her. She won’t realize that the reason she wasn’t taking skating lessons when all her friends did was because first, her mother was deep in grief, and then, holding on too anxiously to pregnancy with M to remember things like registration deadlines, and too scared to set foot on ice herself lest she fall and find one more way to lose a baby.

So, my biggest girl, you have some catching up to do and I’m sorry for that. Anja’s death was not something we move past; it is something that is woven into everything we do and there are so many different ways I notice its effects, especially those it has on you, whose childhood has been so terribly upset. But when those pangs strike me, the guilty feelings that rise up in me when your friends fly by holding hands, leaving you behind, I remind myself how much you have been loved, how much you are loved, and I hope that is enough. Most days, I think that love is the only thing we can count on. It has to be enough.

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