My daughter threw a tantrum on the kitchen floor just now. Wrought face and wet-noodily, she bemoaned the breakage of the back of her high chair, even though she was the one who broke it. I try very hard not to laugh at these things.
The world is heavy when you’re tiny.
She sits in my lap now, eating steamed vegetables. She didn’t want any utensils, so she is using her hands to pull the pieces out of the microwaved package. Was she really just now screaming? Her eyelashes are still wet with tears while she giggles.
And I don’t know, but isn’t this the most honest kind of honesty?
When I was still relatively new in my grief, I used to try to describe it to my therapist. “I want to throw things,” I’d say. “I want to climb out of my skin.” I picture this now, as my daughter zips open and shut her discarded pajamas; I picture a zipper holding tight on my insides, and the pressure and the achiness and the desire to flee.
I always wanted to flee.
And I don’t know much about human development. When do children get that sense of self-awareness? When do we learn what it means to be “me”? But the grief—I think that must exist from infancy.