Eva, with all her curiosities, wanted to know why we live in Missouri. Out of all the places in the world to live, she wanted to know why I had chosen this place. I really hadn’t chosen Missouri specifically, I had responded. I explained to her that I just never felt the need to move away because all our family lives in Missouri.
“Not all of our family,” she said. “My dad doesn’t live in Missouri.”
I should have seen that coming, I suppose. After a moment of thought, and holding my breath that maybe we could talk about the weather instead, I pushed on. I agreed that yes, her father doesn’t live in Missouri.
“Why would he move away from all of his family?”
Should have seen that question coming, too. I just spoke the truth as I see it. I usually try very hard not to offer opinion when speaking of her father, but I did this time. I said simply that the choices he has made do not make sense to me so I can’t help her understand his reasons. Feeling bad for her, I said something like I was sorry that he was so far away because it is sad for her. She agreed it was sad sometimes. Then I asked her something I had never been brave enough to ask her. I asked her if she gets angry at her father sometimes for moving away.
She said, “No, not really.”
“Why not?” I couldn’t resist asking.
“Because, every year he gets meaner and meaner,” she said very matter-of-fact. “I’m glad he isn’t around here because then I would have to see him all the time.”
My heart broke for her some more. She is right, he is mean, but I didn’t expect this. I didn’t expect her to be glad on any level that he isn’t here.