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She Should Be 14

The thing I dislike most about grief?

I can be having the best day, and then out of the blue, something will strike me in just the right way and I’m a sobbing mess. A random thought that drifts across my mind and everything stops.

She should be 14.

It blows my mind that in a few weeks, my tiny sweet baby Grace should be turning 14. The unpredictable teenage years. Mood swings and independence and glimpses of both the little girl she was and the woman she’s becoming.

That’s what’s supposed to be happening in my world right now.

But she will never be 14 and I will never know who she might have been.

These last few years, when she would have been 12 and 13 and 14, have hit me the hardest. I like babies and kids – and I also like to hand them back to their parents. Teenagers? I’ll take all of those home with me. I would have worked my ass off to be a good mom to my girls when they were babies and kids, but I would have hit my stride as a mom when they were teenagers.

There is a hole in my life left by my Grace and Lily that, try as I might, I cannot fill with work and books and busyness. I live and I laugh and I love this life, but I will always carry that empty space where they should have grown.

Grace should be 14 and I should be her mom. I should be her mom who makes her do her homework and pick up her clothes and drives her all over creation. I should know who my daughter is instead of wondering who she might have become. I should be watching her become.

Grief never fails to sucker punch me and knock me to my knees. I have learned that, tomorrow or in an hour or two, I will get back up. I will stop crying. I will get back to living and breathing and embracing this life.

But sometimes, even though I hate it still, I can’t stand under the weight of grief for the child I lose every day. Sometimes grief levels me.

Like when I realize she should be 14 and I should know her now.

But she’s not and I don’t.

I wish she was 14. I wish I knew her now.

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