Last week I bought tickets for Mark and McKenna to go to a daddy/daughter dance. She is six now. This, the first year she is old enough to go. The nice woman at the counter asked how many tickets I needed and I had prepared myself for hating this part. Two tickets were all I bought but I needed three.
I needed to not be standing there, holding the hand of my living six year old daughter with a free hand to pay and dig through my bottomless purse for keys. I needed both hands to be holding one from each of my girls who should be just about the same height right now or I needed them both to be empty because my girls were flitting around the room, practicing spins they would do with their daddy.
When McKenna was young I practiced being fully happy for her. When she walked I tried to cry only sweet tears but they came out bitter anyway. I picked out her dresses for Christmas and Easter and wrestled her hair into pig tails when it was barely long enough and made sure I was behind her a bit so she couldn’t see my eyes disagreeing with my smile.
If Hadley were here, there is a good chance she might not like pig tails or refuse to wear a dress and maybe she would have a hockey game the night of the Daddy/Daughter dance. But I don’t get to know for sure and I don’t get to have my hands full.
This morning we (sort of) took Sawyer to preschool. McKenna helped him inch his way into the art room and a well-meaning classroom helper asked the kids their ages. My anxiety-stricken daughter, who rarely speaks to anyone, told this woman that she and her brother are six and the nice lady exclaimed at how fun it must be to have a twin.
I let the comment go because I can do that now but McKenna corrected her, telling her they are triplets. And when she asked where the other one was, my daughter explained that her sister is in her heart so she can bring her everywhere.
I sat there on my preschool chair made for a three year-old’s behind and my eyes glazed over as they have for so many of McKenna’s moments. I didn’t have to wish away bitterness this time, I felt nothing but sweet gratitude for all she has become. Her beautiful self, most likely, a mirror image of what her sister should be, taking perfect care of the piece of my heart that left us so long ago.
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