Like a young child excited to find her parent in wait, I always look forward to coming home and filling Janet in on my time away. I used to wonder if she had any interest in all of my talk, now it feels so natural to me to tell her whatever is on my mind, I can't stop myself from rushing through the door to see her.
To celebrate my birthday with Janet, I brought her a Key Lime Cheesecake and a cupcake for myself. It's nice to have someone else in the house who likes sweets. Aaron lights a candle and I am ordained one year older. It isn't the party of last year, but this new home situation appeals to me: Aaron, the dogs, now Sasha and Janet.
Before I hit the bath, Janet tells me that someone called to offer her a new job starting next week. Suddenly I can't breathe. Part of me is always aware that Janet will soon be leaving. This part of me understands that Janet is not my mother and that she has her own family and responsibilities. Janet is not the orphan that I am. She does not need to be here the way that I need her to be here. This part of me acknowledges that her obligation to us has been fulfilled and that she can leave here tomorrow if she chooses to. Still when I hear of this other job, I panic. It doesn't matter that she has already told us when her last day will be so that she can be available to care for her grandson. Now suddenly the deadline is real. Our time is coming to an end.
I can barely speak and rush upstairs to start my bath. Aaron is already in bed and when I crawl in beside him, he wonders what is wrong. The tears tumble out before I can even say anything. Finally I tell him about the job offer, and he assumes that she is taking it and this is why I am falling apart.
"No, she told them that she isn't available."
"So what's going on?"
"Janet is going to leave. I don't want her to."
He reaches for me then stops himself. He believes he can spare me this flu. "I know."
"It's not just the help with the baby. I can take care of the baby myself."
And he does know but I feel like I just need to say it out loud. "With the baby and Janet, it's like we have a whole family now. I love it. I really do." The tears push forward harder ahead of the swelling pain.
Aaron tells me to relax. I know that I am too worked up to slow myself down at this point but he needs to sleep so I slip into the seaweed bubble bath, light one of the new candles, and grab my book. Still the tears don't stop. I have been so lonely for so many years wanting a mother. Janet has eased this. If this was a movie, Janet would be without a family and claim us as her own and we would live happily ever after. But this is not a movie and the weeks are flying by.
How can I let her go? I don't know that I can but I will have to. And soon.