Patti got a kitten and, after checking with Kim, invited Maggie over to see it on Friday. But Friday was such a long day. We'd started at the school at 7:30 that morning to enjoy some time with the teachers and staff. I'd taken Maggie to soccer practice after school and we were back at school at seven at night for an international potluck. And so at nine o'clock when Maggie wanted to see the kitten, I said no.
It's not the first time Maggie hasn't spoken to me for a while and I'm guessing it won't be the last. We were supposed to go to an exhibit at the Science museum Saturday morning, and when Maggie woke up she didn't want to go. She reminded Kim that we'd promised her she could see the kitten today, so Kim let her go over to Patti's house. Kim hadn't put a restriction on Maggie's time because Patti's family was all set to go somewhere. Patti ended up staying with Maggie who wouldn't leave the kitten's side.
A couple of hours later Kim called over there to check on Maggie. When was she coming home to go to the museum.
She wasn't. She didn't want to go to that dumb exhibit anyways.
Kim said, "you can see the kitten later but the exhibit leaves tomorrow. The kitten will be here for a long time."
Maggie dug her heels in. Kim said o.k. and hung up.
Then Kim and I looked at each other and I cried. Who knows how long the kitten will be here for. We'd thought the same about Elena. We don't need to take a picture of her without her tooth right now when she lost it. We'll take a picture of her gap toothed smile tomorrow. Except that she died tomorrow. Thank goodness Maggie had snapped the picture of her "right now". We don't need to take her to the store today, she can go with me tomorrow. Except that she died tomorrow. Thank goodness she asked me nicely a second time if she could come with me to the store and we went together.
It's hard to know if the kitten represents the same thing to Maggie as it does to Kim and me. It could be that this same incident would have happened five months ago and we would have just thought it was Maggie being difficult.
We made Maggie come home so that Patti and her family could get ready for the birthday party they were hosting later in the day. Maggie still didn't want to go to the exhibit. I was still pretty sure that this was more of her way of punishing me than a reluctance to go. I asked her if she really didn't want to go or if she was just angry with me. She let me know that it was both.
When we've talked to people who have suffered losses they always seem to say the same thing: "there are bad days there are good days." I never understood what that meant. But it's true. Without knowing in advance, without knowing why, some days are really difficult and some days aren't quite so difficult. Friday night through about noon on Saturday was one of those days for Maggie.