I Left My Heart….
Wait. Where did I leave my heart?
If you are a Twitter type of person and you follow my tweets, you may have gotten some of-the-moment tweeting about what I’m about to describe.
There was an “incident” upon my departure from New Mexico about three weeks ago. I’ve tried to brush it off, but I find I cannot. I’m rather shaken to my core.
The executive summary is this: I got my heart broke by an eight year old girl.
And I may never recover properly.
I flew out to New Mexico for one of the annual “Chick’s Trips” that my best friend and I love to put together.
I came in on a Thursday afternoon and my friend picked me up at the airport. Earlier that day, her husband had taken their two daughters, my goddaughters, on a camping trip. He was out spotting elk for an upcoming hunt His girls are avid outdoors women, so they are able to help.
Fabulous. That meant some one-on-one girl time with my best friend in the world.
There was cussing. There was discussing. There was a trip to the Ruidoso Downs.
We all got back my friend’s house in Las Cruces on Sunday afternoon. I had to fly out Monday.
So Sunday evening I got to have some quality time with my little girls (who are not so little anymore).
I had a chance to chat with the older of the two, she’s ten, and has had some troubles with another girl at school. I wanted to make sure that going into fifth grade, she was holding up ok.
I got to sit next to the younger of the two, she’s eight, at dinner.
The next morning, the eight year old asked me to go on a walk with her out to look at her flowers in her yard. I told her I would be happy to.
As time will do, it went all slippery and got away from us. Nina Karen didn’t get her walk in with the younger goddaughter.
This all came to a head at the El Paso airport. We arrived a bit early and my kids wanted to come inside the airport to see me off.
Without delay, my younger goddaughter began insisting to her mom that she needed to come with me on the plane.
Her mom told her that she couldn’t come with me.
“But why!?!?” was the inevitable reply.
What followed was a long and persistent debate between mom and child about, logically, why she couldn’t just get on the plane and come home with me.
Then the tears began in earnest. My younger goddaughter began sobbing.
And that’s when the truth started pouring out….
“You and Nina Karen always go off somewhere and we never get to go!”
Early on, my friend laid down some age requirements for chick’s trips. Plus, sometimes Mama just needs a break.
“We always have to go with dad and you get to go have fun!”
Which isn’t very nice to the dad who is lots of fun. But he’s a boy and boy fun is different.
“Nina Karen always comes out here and we never get to go to California.”
Well, sure. Since I don’t have little ones, and I get awful homesick, I do tend to fly that way a bit more often.
“Other than her name, I don’t even know Nina Karen!”
Ok, that one hurt. That’s so not true, and she later apologized for having said it. But in that moment, she broke my heart.
She wasn’t done by a long shot.
I held my baby girl in my arms as she cried and cried, her tiny body racked with sobs. Of course, I started crying too. Then her mom was bawling. And her big sister was crying from the get go.
Four weepy girls all clutched together at the El Paso Airport.
I apologized to my girl and through tears she said she forgave me.
After a while, her sobs began to slow down. Then, time went and got us again. The long hand moved too quickly on the clock face, and it was time for me to leave.
I had to go home. But which home? My California home because The Good Man waited for me there. He is my heart.
But that little crying girl is also my heart.
I’ve never felt so torn between two places in all my life. It literally felt like being ripped in two.
I cried all the way through the security line, and the TSA man shooed me along.
Then I cried all the way through the terminal.
I used my phone to call my husband to tell him what happened, and started sobbing even harder.
With every tear, my heart broke a little bit more. Ground glass under a bootheel.
I’m not sure yet how I’m going to try to make this right.
My best friend is working on a road trip out here, maybe, to cut costs and make it easier for them all to come out here to California.
I’m working over in my mind a plan to go back to New Mexico. But when? Our weekends are booked through Labor Day.
I just know that I am as heartbroke today as I was three weeks ago.
The Hispanic culture embraces a concept called “Comadres”. Co-Mothers. Best friends are like mothers to each others children.
I don’t have kids of my own, but actually, I do. Those two girls are as dear to me as if I’d birthed them from my own body. I feel their pain, I revel in their joy. I would sacrifice for them with nary a thought.
Nina Karen has got to make things right.
I’ll tell you this, I’ll never again miss the chance to take a walk with my girls just to look at the flowers.
“Las Comadres,” a painting by Juana Alicia.