I am a creature of habit. It has been said that most people are. It is why we tend to eat the same foods, watch the same television shows, listen to the same kind of music, and follow certain routines across our lives. I am also a person who likes–no, needs–to know what the plan is. I hate going into a day or an event or even a vacation without having some type of plan in place.
Over a year ago, when my daughter and her little family moved to our area, she would come to my place a couple times a week to do laundry. I loved the extra baby time I got during those visits. A few months after relocating, she and her husband decided to sell their second car in order to save insurance money. She knew I was more than willing to go pick her up and take her anywhere she needed to be. I admit to enjoying the fact that I felt needed once again. It was also nice to know if I was feeling a bit lonely, I could text her and ask if she and the baby wanted some company for a bit. She always answered with a “Yes!”
As the weeks passed, little man’s schedule started to fall into place. This meant picking one day to pick them both up for laundry day and, subsequently, take them home in time for his nap. Thursday was designated as that day.
Every Thursday I would leave my house by 9:00 AM, pick up my daughter and grandson, swing through a McDonald’s drive thru on our way back for diet coke and breakfast sandwiches, and bring them to my place to start laundry. We would watch Food Network or Game Show Network while laundry was being washed. I would rock or play with little man. We always got lunch as well. Sometimes, we would go out somewhere. The older lady at Smashburger looked forward to seeing the baby each week. If we didn’t go there, we might meet Uncle DJ and/or my son-in-law for lunch at Culvers. Sometimes I just went and brought something home for us to eat. She would get as much laundry as she could done before having to leave for his longer nap. We would load the baby and laundry into my van and I would drive them back home. Any unfinished laundry would be left here for me to finish and take to her over the weekend. (Another chance to see the baby!)
Today is the first Thursday since they moved. There was no one to go pick up this morning. There was no diet coke from McDonald’s or Smashburger for lunch. There was no baby to rock or loads of laundry waiting to be done. There was no little baby shirts and pants to fold. The toys are still neatly put away in our living room. Eventually I will need to pack them away, but I haven’t been able to do that yet. My heart is not ready to pack away his singing toolbox or the Sesame Street toy that sang when he pushed the buttons. The sippy cup and baby spoons have not left their cupboard home for a week. There are still sweet potato puffs on the floor, but that is only because I have not had the emotional energy to vacuum them up from his time with me last week. The clock says it is 12:30. I need to eat lunch but have no desire to do so. I wish we could go to Zupas–Grammy would buy him the chicken fingers he loves so much. Or maybe Culvers and Uncle DJ could meet us there. But that can’t happen. I wonder if he misses me? Probably not. He is too young to know what habit means and how deeply ingrained our Thursdays together became for me.
But this morning, when I woke up and realized it was Thursday, I pulled the covers over my head and cried. I cried tears that I didn’t think were even possible to cry. I felt my heart break even more as I wondered what he would spend his Thursday doing…and I wished so much that he was spending it with me.
I hate my life right now. There is only so many ways one can escape the pain of a broken heart. None are healthy.
But I don’t care right now.
Right now, I just need to escape.