Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Two years ago we hired an au pair because I found out that, unlike day care, they didn't charge by the child.

This week, despite my six month effort to shove her into a loveless greencard marriage, we said goodbye to her.

In between Stacey was more than a part of the family, she was like the leg that kept us from falling over. She was also like an arm, a foot, and in many ways she was a pelvis. The point is, her going felt less like a goodbye and more like an amputation. She's the limb you can still feel despite it being gone (I assume you're all amputees and you can relate to this idea). The girls keep saying "Stacey on plane" and pointing each time one goes by as if she's just been circling around up there and any particular aluminum tube might be the one to bring her back.

One of the things I find particularly shitty about getting older is that you learn that everything eventually passes. The best summer ever, the worst day of your life, these are all just things that end up in your file. The things or the people you felt like you'd DIE without or DIE because of when you're a teenager (when it seems like threatening to DIE is all you do), you learn, in fact, you will live through. I mean Life Goes On is a great lesson and all, but there's something lost when you realize that all those hours spent moaning while listening to Cure albums are just a phase, a coping mechanism, and that the things you hold the most dear, the closest to your heart, even those things will someday fade.

So look, Stacey's not dead. She's back in South Africa. We're going to miss her. She's going to miss us. And then one day, she won't. One day she'll get a job she's excited about or meet a boy better than I was able to procure via Craigslist and all of this, the good, the bad, and the goodbye, all of it will feel a little less near, a little less raw, until eventually, it will be a chapter in a book she read long ago and rarely, if ever, gets off the shelf. All of which is what should happen, what needs to happen. It's why you don't spend the rest of your life crying after your first date invites another guy along or your second date decides she's a lesbian (I assume this also happened to all of you and that you can relate. And that you're amputees. Writing to a very specific group of you tonight). I'm just saying, sometimes the knowledge that you'll get over something is as disappointing as the thing itself. It makes your devastation feel less real, less necessary. If you get over everything, what really matters?

So for now I'm going to wallow in the sad the same way I always advocate feasting on the happy. I'm going to dig out my Disintegration album and claw at the carpet the way I did when that girl said, Kyle, you've made me realize I just don't really like boys. So Stacey, wherever you are, I hope you're getting over it, and I hope you appreciate that we're choosing not to.

The irony is that when I was so on the fence about even having kids I used joke that we should just adopt an amazing teenager bound for bigger and better things, have her for a year or two, and then get our house back to ourselves. Instead we ended up with twins, a boy, a minivan, and a teenager bound for bigger and better things who we would have adopted a thousand times if only we were allowed. The fact that we couldn't means we'll be scratching at our phantom leg/arm/pelvis for some time.

Totsiens, Stacey.

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