I was surprised when I heard her voice pipe up from the back seat. She usually likes to sit quietly and watch the scenery pass by while we drive. She’s just like Kev and me – we once drove nearly three hours without talking, just content to be in the car with each other.
So when she spoke up, I listened.
And when I heard her words, I nodded my head and pressed my lips together to keep the tears from spilling out.
“Mama, I think life is just a scootch too good, sometimes. It’s hard when I’m having so much fun and then it’s over and I just want to keep having that great time again and again.”
Yeah, baby girl. I know.
I miss that scootch so much. That little bit of extra that made everything about life pretty wonderful. I miss the bad puns and the never-ending Bubba joke and the constant pausing of the TiVo so he could quiz me about where we’d seen a particular actor before. I miss the wearied kiss on my forehead after I knelt by the bedside and unhooked his infusion pump as carefully as I could. I miss the pat on my hip each night as he drifted to sleep, needing to make sure I was there in bed beside him. I miss his nose comically sniffing the air with goofy anticipation as garlic and tomato wafted through the house and deep dish pizza bubbled in the oven. I miss his silly voices reading Sandra Boynton books to the Bear each night when “all the hippos go BESERK!” I miss scrambling to the car, racing to chemo and the whole time he’s shrugging his shoulders and laughing, “They can’t start without me, Baby Doll.” I miss tangling our feet together on the recliner’s footrest in the chemo room, the drip-drip-drip of the drugs keeping time with our hearts: “I love you, I love you, I love you.”
Life with Kevin – even life with cancer, because at least he was still here with me – it was just a scootch too good. I waited thirty-two years for that life, and he did, too, and we crammed as much love and happy and fun into ten years as we possibly could.
It was good.
A scootch too good.
She’s right, I think, as I make the left turn and head toward home, my face wet with memories.
It’s hard when life is everything you ever wanted. And you want it to go on and on and on. Forever.
But then it’s over.
And what’s left in my life is still good, and I’ve got my girl bringing me joy and her quirky insightful wisdom to prove it, but…it’s a scootch less than what I had.
I miss him so much.