Dinner tonight was wonderful; for the first time in a long time, it felt like a real family sitting down to the table. Maybe it was just me.. maybe my perspective has changed, but something felt very different. I hope that Meg and the kids felt it too, but it's just so hard to tell if it's just the way that I'm seeing them, or if they're actually happier.
Megan mentioned to me the other day that I've recently changed. I didn't see it at the time, but she pointed out little things that I've been doing differently. I've been regularly helping Maria with her homework, playing a little more with Marcos and Estrella, and spending just a little less time on the computer. This wasn't a conscious change, and I wasn't making any sort of intentional effort to please my family, but I suppose I have been less distant lately. I really felt like a huge weight had been lifted off of me when I revisited my childhood trauma, but I wasn't aware of any external change that my breakthrough caused. I see it now though... I can see it when the kids' eyes light up when I enter a room, and I can feel it in the way that my wife kisses me just a little bit longer than she used to.
It's funny how these little things can bring all of us closer together. At dinner, even Marcos and Maria seemed to fight less than usual... they still fought, but it was more like playful teasing. Even Estrella seemed happier; she's so young that you wouldn't think that she'd pick up on the subtle differences in others' behavior, but she was just beaming. I haven't been this happy in a long time... everything just felt right for once. Knowing that my family is taken care of and doing well is very important to me, and for the first time in a long time, everything seemed perfect. When I looked across the table at their faces, just watching the interaction, it felt right to me; it always seems right, but I think that sometimes I'm just trying to convince myself that it's okay... tonight, my heart agreed with my mind.
The only thing that I'd change about tonight was the phonecall that I received during dinner. It was the police department - they want me to stop by the station tomorrow. I guess they're still trying to figure out who murdered Charlie's mother, and think that I might have some useful information. After the call, I guess my demeanor changed, because the kids had such looks of concern on their faces; Meg noticed it too. She touched my hand and asked me what was wrong. I tried to smile and assure them that it was nothing... I wanted everything to return to that wonderful feeling that we were sharing before the phonecall, but they could tell that I was hiding something. I couldn't manage to bring things back to that simple feeling of togetherness. I wanted to write this down... I wanted to lock that feeling away somewhere, so that I can look back on it for years to come. I'm worried that my kids will never look at me with such acceptance again; I fear that this may have been the last time that we'll feel like a real family. Joy and innocence are so fleeting... you have to capture them when you have the chance.