It’s a familiar tug in my stomach. I woke and thought, (after someone left at 4am after much talking,)there is absolutely, no, freaking way I’m going to not feel like shit this morning.

I went through my mental checklist- I was obviously still holding onto something. It probably was a deadly concotion of whatever I was thinking plus anger- or pain, and it wasn’t subsiding.

I had this perfect outfit hanging in my closet. A gorgeous silk top and skirt- perfect for a 9 year old little girl. A sweater to keep shoulder’s warm, and a necklace I had made that went with it all. I remember the day I found it at the store. I freaked out and called Josh. I knew it would be perfect for Kaeyla- and I couldn’t believe my luck. Suddenly, I was feeling the same way about her as I felt about Ava. Suddenly- everything I saw I wanted for her. I fell in love with her, too. It wasn’t her blue eyes or her innocence- it was that she is quite possibly, the kindest 9 year old little girl out there.

 He stated he wanted me to give all the presents we made him to someone else, (Ava’s handprint in cement that we painted,) and a few things for Kaeyla. I unwrapped them all, and I saved the handprint for me. Kaeyla’s things I placed carefully in a bag, and I posted on craigslist. Maybe another little girl’s mom will bring it home with the same excitement and sparkle I had in my eyes. I held onto that package, because I so wanted to see her excitement, and joy. The things I already had given- I took Kaeyla for professional pictures, and bought him a christmas tree, (I know.. right?) Those he’d keep.

A few weekends ago, we spent the day in my living room, her and I. We crafted cards for her family, and made her dad and even her mom trinkets for christmas. He was out chopping wood at a friends house- the friend that talked to him that day about going out with another friend of theirs. They set it up- and there I was, stupidly watching this child, and trying to make every aspect of his Christmas special. The next Saturday, he came for pancakes, and we sat at the table and talked- he left to go out with her, and I knew- (I think deep down- I always knew,) and thinking back to what I invested- everything I gave because of what I loved, I want to wake myself up in the dream state and tell myself, “You were had.”

 There’s a bag, of things on my front porch. When I come home- it will be gone. Someone will have taken it, and brought it home, and I’ll have no reason left to give anything.

I think I gave enough.

 Tonight? We’re having a burning party. I’ve never burned letters before- (I save everything.) I have a garbage bag full of pictures, ‘love’ letters he’s written, apology notes, anything you could imagine. It’s in there and ready to be toasted.

I think sometimes, when we take a few hours to do the right things for ourselves, and we stop and remedy even the smallest parts of the situation- there’s an immediate feeling that can overwhelm us. It’s not sadness or fear- or worry… It’s strength.

It’s what I’ve been missing all along.