Sometimes I think Ro is going to be okay.
There's this bit that (of all comics) Ray Romano does about having kids. He describes driving w/ his ~5 year old daughter in the backseat. He glances back at her and notices that she's quietly gazing out the window w/ an unmistakable smile on her face.
Of course he asks, "Whatcha thinkin' about, honey?"
"Candy," she responds contently.
That always stuck w/ me. To me, it exemplifies the pure joy that kids (if they're lucky) hold in their hearts.
When I look back at Ro in the car on the way to camp this morning, catch her smiling out the window, I think she's going to be okay.
Now, admittedly, I don't know what's prompting Rory's smile. But I prefer not to think it's the result of her finally perfecting her plot to conduct a coup d'etat in our home. (Although I'm sure that's just a matter of time.)
My mom is stepping up her mimi game this summer, putting in overtime hours to ensure I don't have to be pulled away from work to snag Ro from camp. While I know it's no chore, I know she always has a choice. And I'm grateful she chooses us.
On one such day last week, Mom and I were catching up at the house after camp while Rory decided to take an early shower. We were talking in the living room and Ro struck up the one-woman chorus in her bathroom.
Now, if you know Rory, you know this is not unusual. The kid has pipes and more often than not, she chooses to amplify them while the shower water is running.
But, for whatever reason, this time her singing struck a (different) chord. And both Mom and I acknowledged our genuine appreciation - almost amazement - in this child's ability to express this brazen joy.
Given what she's dealt w/ and witnessed in (the vast majority of) her very short life thus far, this kid has the audacity to keep the positivity at a high level. Always.
She's a fucking superhero.
Just like her mom.
Somehow this superhuman is able to disregard, or maybe shine thru the dark cloud that's been dropped above her head. And, from the outside looking in on her, it appears almost effortless.
I've mentioned this in previous posts. I've mentioned this directly to some of you. I've certainly expressed this to Jill on more than one occasion. One of my biggest concerns was whether Ro would bounce back. Whether she would be able and willing to reignite the inner joy. Thus far she's proven that that flame was never extinguished.
Rory continues to have her moments, still often asking the succinct, but unanswerable question, 'why.' And I can more easily absorb these challenging moments when I know they'll likely be chased by shower singing, kitchen dancing, and uncontrollable laughing fits. (I like to think I play a role in the latter two.)
So, at this stage, in this chapter, I feel confident saying that Rory is happy. She is a happy person.
But certainly the hole remains. It will always remain.
My promise and my privilege is to do my part to ensure that Rory's happiness outshines the hole.
J, J, & r