Mommy’s ‘Ami’

[Written in 2014 a few days before my husband (then boyfriend) was moving to Miami, Florida.]

We are all doing our own thing getting ready for the day. Nora’s at the table eating pancakes with syrup and sprinkles. Layla hovers over my feet expectantly as I lace up my tennis shoes. Chris is trying to open the front door while balancing a basket full of laundry on his hip. Just as he yanks it open, Nora puts down her fork.

“Chris?”

He stops in the doorway. “Yes Nora?”

“Are you going to Mommy’s ‘Ami’?”

A week earlier she overheard Chris and I talking about his new job in Miami. She stopped us with authority. “No, no, no. It’s not YOUR ‘Ami’ it’s MOMMY’S ‘Ami.'”

We meet eyes, re-live that moment, and smile. He turns back to Nora. “Yes. I’m going to Mommy’s ‘ami,’ but I’m not leaving right now. I’m leaving in a few days.”

“Right.” She looks back to the pancakes she abandoned and begins shoveling another bite on her fork. Before she levels it into her mouth, she says, “You leave because you have a little job to do there like I have my chores to do here.”

Chris looks both smitten and devastated. “That’s right, Nora.”

“We’re going to show you how to Skype so you can talk to him on the computer,” I explain, wondering what she’ll ask next.

“I love you, Chris.” She blows a kiss.

“I love you, Nora.” He blows a kiss back.

She returns to her pancakes, satisfied with their conversation.

Chris and I meet eyes, 4 years of story between us. We both want to say something but know there is nothing to say. He turns around and shuts the door.

“Mommy?” Nora asks as soon as the door is closed.

I leave the kitchen and walk toward her. “Yes, Nora?”

“I miss, Chris.”

She says it while watching him walk to his truck. She understands that while he’s still in view, he is leaving.

“I miss him, too,” I tell her while rubbing her back. She wiggles out of her chair and skips to my bedroom to watch TV. I take a bite of her pancakes. Layla begins thumping her tail at my feet.

“No girl,” I tell her. “This is MY pancake. Not yours.”

Nora shouts from my bedroom, “NO IT’S *MY* PANCAKE!”

“Well that’s fine,” I tell her, “Because it’s MYami.”

Silence.