Kayla came by this weekend. This school year she is coming home less than ever. That’s to be expected her junior year. In addition to being 20 years old and feeing her independence, she has an incredible apartment and a boyfriend on campus. She refers to Toledo home now. That doesn’t cut me as much now as it did the first time I heard her refer to her apartment as home.
I wonder how much of her not coming home as much is due to the natural separation of growing up and how much is due to the fact that Shayna is not here anymore.
Kayla has a similar schedule to what she had one semester of freshman year. She has no classes on Friday and doesn’t have class on Monday until 11:30 AM. I would pick her up after class on Thursday and often take her back on Monday morning (she would sleep on the way back). We’d have four three days and four nights with her. Ah… those were the days. Now, she stays out late on Thursday nights, so she does’t get here on Fridays until around dinner time. She leaves on Sunday afternoon. So, we only get two nights with her. I wish we had more time with her, but I am grateful for what we have and I realize it’s more than most parents of 20 year olds get.
I fantasize about what it would be like if Shayna were still here and Kayla was coming home to spend time with her. They were inseparable. I miss the sounds of their laughter, walking by their rooms and seeing them sitting on the bed sharing whatever sisters share. I miss the sounds of them telling each other god night in the language they created together. Saturday night, Kayla got up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night and I realized I even miss waking up in the middle of the night and knowing they were safe under my roof.
But, that’s just a fantasy. Shayna was growing up fast. Even Kayla’s freshman year, the only college year Shayna was here for, Shayna was rapidly becoming her own person. She would often make plans with her friends even on the weekends Kayla was coming home, which tore at Kayla’s heart. That was before Shayna would have been driving and dating. I suspect, if Shayna were here, things would be a lot different than the picture my my paints.
Last night, my mind was full of dreams of incompletion and messes. I kept finding myself in seemingly random scenes. I was at the dentist’s office getting the first checkup in years and being a told a tooth was rotten and would have to be extracted. Then, I was at a golf outing. Fun. Except that I was all hot and sweaty afterwards and had to be at a meeting at church and had no time to shower and change clothes, so I took all of my clothes off and had to decide whether to go to the meeting in my underwear or skip it. I faded from that scenario into a factory where I worked. It made plastic parts, like legos. They were in these giant bins all over the place, but they were not sorted well. Parts were mixed in where they weren’t supposed to be and I ran through the warehouse playing my own game of parkour, which was a lot of fun, but destroying things as I jumped and ran and swung my way through the inventory. My life seems without both purpose and destination right now. I finished re-reading The Shack yesterday. In one part of the book, the main character is offered the choice to return to his family or to go with his murdered daughter. “What an impossible choice”, I thought the first time I read the book. But, he still had two children at home. I feel like the purpose for my life is over and I’m just waiting for the next phase of whatever to begin. I’m frustrated because everything i try fails.
Last night, as Tywana and I sat on the couch, after Kayla left, I looked around the house. When we moved in, it seemed like a small mansion at almost twice the size of our previous house. It was mostly empty rooms because Kayla was only 9 months old, we hadn’t started the business and Shayna hadn’t joined us yet. Over the years, we filled it up with joy, and kids and the business. Now, it’s too big for our needs again. After Shayna passed, I thought there was no way I could leave this house because it would be leaving the memories of her behind. We say things like “This house holds a lot of memories.” I know realize it’s not the house that holds the memories. The house is where the memories were made. I hold the memories. The house is not a home, home I take with me. I won’t miss the house when I go.