Tonight we got out of the house and did something fun. It was actually really nice. George was in town and wanted to have dinner, but he didn’t have enough time between the end of his meeting and his flight from Dulles, so we decided to go up to Tysons to have dinner with him, then take a walk around the mall and do a little bit of shopping. Just some time out, doing something that required not just a shower, but some nice clothing and even a bit of makeup. We had a lovely dinner, and George took this picture of me and Aaron with his phone. I was like…hey, that looks like me, feeling happy. I was relieved to see it, really. Aaron tried to keep his eyes open, but George’s phone flash was so bright he couldn’t hang. That’s the monkey hat Aaron got from his uncle George.
After dinner we drove across the way to the mall and I saw that I had a couple of new emails from people expressing their love and support. I read them to Chris as we were driving, and those emails, coupled with our pleasant night out, gave me a much-needed bolster. Just another time when I felt okay, maybe even good, and what I needed was more evidence that those days would be happening more often. We walked around the mall, bought Aaron some shirts in the Disney Store, and bought a new comforter and duvet cover for our room.
Another note about this photo…another example of the small ways your heart breaks every day. In November, I jumped on the Instagram train and put it on my phone. I bought it to take pictures of Mara. I wanted to have it ready for my baby’s arrival, and I imagined all the pictures I would take of her while we were home together. You can’t imagine how many photos I had staged in my mind that I would blissfully post with updates of every tiny baby movement and sound. After she was gone, I just kept seeing that icon on my phone. And it kept staring at me. And I remembered that I took an Instagram photo of Aaron just a couple of days before she died, and that I hadn’t opened it since. And I thought about all the pictures I wouldn’t be taking with it. And I just didn’t want to open it. But, I didn’t delete it, because that would go against my “don’t do anything dramatic out of grief that you will regret later”philosophy. And this picture is the first time I used Instagram after that. Such a stupid, small, thing. An app.
It used to be that seeing a picture of me and Aaron would give me a happy feeling of satisfaction and a parental glow. On this night, the picture was an anchor to reality. I didn’t get the same feeling of happiness from the picture that I would have before Mara died, and that scared me. It still scares me. But I keep looking at it. And even though it means something different than it meant before, it still means everything.