I wake up, still holding a little person in my arms. He stirs softly.
"Hey Teddy." I smile and kiss his forehead.
"Hello Aunty Alex." He smiles and hugs me tightly.
"Shall we go and eat breakfast?" I ask. It's Thursday morning. The funeral is tomorrow. Teddy nods. I take his hand. We head downstairs.
"Would you like some a peanut butter and jelly toasted sandwich?" He nods eagerly.
I make it for him. He sits on one of the three barstools and spins around on it. I laugh at his innocent antics. He is like the little light I have at the end of the tunnel. I cried myself to sleep last night. The reality of the situation hit me like a bus last night, and I've realised, we don't always have to end strong. I'm thinking about going to a counsellor, and taking Teddy as well. He has to go to his little school though, which will help me actually get to work. I am only starting my new job next year in January, so I will still be working with Dylan until that time. That reminds me, I do need to take off work for the next two days.
I hand Teddy his sandwich which he digs into eagerly.
"Aunty Alex," He starts, his sandwich still on his plate.
"Yeah?" I ask smiling.
"Where's mommy?" He asks. My heart sinks, and I can feel tears are clouding my eyes. How do I answer that? He doesn't understand death. He doesn't understand that his parents are never coming back.
"Honey, mommy and daddy have gone to heaven." I explain, tears clouding my vision. I grip the countertop, until my knuckles turn white.
"Where's heaven?" He asks.
"It's very far..." a loud sob escapes my lips, "Far a...away." Teddy looks at me sadly, he still dorms understand.
"When are they coming back?" He asks. I can only shake my head.
"Teddy, sweetheart," I start, "Mommy and Daddy are never coming back." As I say it I regret it. It was a hard way to tell him. I don't see how I can make him understand.
"Never?" He asks, and I can see tears are starting to form in his eyes. I shake my head.
"I'm so sorry my baby." I pull him close. He sobs into my shirt and I sob with him. How can I do it?
"So are you my new mommy then?" He asks, through his tears. The question knocks the air out of my lungs. I am now the only Mom he will ever have. Maybe when he's older, he won't even remember his mom, and the though cuts me deep and hard. I have to keep Tabitha's, his mother's memory alive. I stay silent, until I realize that I actually have to answer.
"Y-yes. But I... I am not your real-real mommy." As I say it, loud sobs jerk my body, and I feel like I might faint.
"You are a real mommy. I don't have a mommy anymore." He explains through his tears and my heart aches for him. He's had to face so much at three. "I love you Mommy." He says, the word sounds so strange, and my heart yearns for a different situation for him. How can I be his mommy? I have no idea what I'm doing and I have no one to really help me.
"I love you too Teddy." I pull him close, and we sob together. I run churches in his back and he squeezes me tightly.
"How about we go do some shopping today?" I ask. Teddy groans.
"Do we have to?" I nod.
"There is nothing in the fridge, we will starve if we don't go. It might be fun." I convince. He nods.
"Come. Let's go get dressed." I smile. I pick him up on a piggy back.
I hand him what he must wear. Its a little striped blue and white tee shirt, with dark blue pants and little Thomas the Train flip flops. He loves that show.
I quickly get changed into my own clothes, shorts and a tee shirt, along with flip flops of my own. I make sure that Teddy has brushed his hair and his teeth. He has a tiny little toothbrush. My sister has already taught him how to brush his teeth. I grab my iPad.
"I have a deal for you." I say in the car, as we drive to the nearest grocery store.
"Yay!" He smiles excitedly.
"You can watch Thomas the Train, and sit in the trolley, and I will do the shopping. How does that sound?" He nods eagerly. I laugh.
We arrive, and I put Teddy into the trolley. I hand him the iPad. I get a bunch of things that I think Teddy will eat. As I stand in the queue, an old lady looks at me and Teddy, and then my ring finger. People judge so quickly.
"Out of wedlock?" She sniggers. People have no respect.
"No." I give her a fake smile. Once I've paid for everything, I walk outside, Teddy in tow.
I put him in the car, and then unload all the groceries. I look up at the people coming out fo the shop. I watch the old lady who so rudely asked me why I have kid, climb into her car, and I sigh softly. Will this be the norm now? I shake my head. I can't afford to think about it. It doesn't matter anyway. All that matters is Teddy.
I quickly phone Dylan.
"Hello Alex. You are rather late this morning aren't you?" He answers.
"Yeah. I'm so sorry about that. I have had a family emergency." I look at Teddy in the review mirror who is still watching his show. "Is it possible for me to take today and tomorrow off? These circumstances are very unique, and I can't do anything about them." I beg. He sighs.
"Yeah. Sure. When will you be back at the office?"
"Monday. Is that alright?" I plead.
"Yes. That's fine. I hope everything gets sorted out." He says. I give a sad smile.