I could hear him from the basement laundry room. The deep, roaring belly laugh. I followed it like a light, and stood in the doorway, watching my husband read the scene where the very grouchy ladybug gets smacked (qua pssht!) by the whale. I got there just in time to hear the belly laugh, and then the kid promptly vomited.
Afterward, I’d return to that walk through the house. To the second in the doorway where I watched them. The father and son. I used to think I remembered to punish myself. Here is that moment, proof, of all you discounted, all you squandered. This is what you left.
But that’s not it at all. The truth is, except for that moment, I found myself raising two children. I focused on it not because it was representative, but because it wasn’t. Because it was my path back. In those final months, laughter was so rare, I followed it as though I were starving.