five hundred forty eight days

I missed the girls 18 month birthday last week. I know it may not seem like a big deal - it’s not an annual milestone - but to me, it was significant. I have to travel for work on occasion and this was one of those occasions. This time, I was gone for just two days.

Two days. 

The days are so different than they used to be. They are different because they come and go like never before. I used to spend entire days watching movies, playing video games or sleeping off hangovers. I’d waste them because I could always have them back. I could always do them over again. I wasn’t really losing anything by skipping a day here and there. Now, each day has something in it that will never happen again, something in it that I can never experience again. So, if I miss a day, I miss everything:

When I’m gone I miss all of crawling and walking and I miss one of them saying something new. Like June saying “ahhhhh” when she finishes a sip of water and Laurel saying “thank you.”

I miss them calling out “dada” when I’m not around. I miss them looking for me at home when I’m nowhere to be found

I miss them each wearing a new pair of jeans or Vans high top shoes. I miss Laurel shimmying to the Beatles and June learning the freedom to chose.

I miss June’s millionth raspberry and Laurel calling to her brother, “downs.” I miss the smells of both of them when I FaceTime from out of town.

I miss them stealing all my chapstick and capsizing boats in the bath. I missed being pulled into June’s eye contact and pushed out of Laurel’s path.

I miss Laurel walking in the garden and plucking flowers from the dirt. I miss June wearing her badass “never underestimate the power of women and girls” t-shirt.

I miss Laurel pouting and pointing at her itty bitty “boo boos.” I miss June performing as Scarlet O’Hara when she play peekaboo.

I miss the forts and the hammocks, the tents and the teepees. I miss painting outside the lines and pacing beneath the trees.

I miss shadow puppets at bedtime and books all day long. I miss screams at the tops of tiny lungs and singing children’s songs.

I miss them laughing and clapping at each other and I miss their synchronized cries. I miss them watching me walk away and I miss them saying “bye bye.”

I miss my family now. I miss my little girls. How can I spare another day to fly around the world?