So, Dasha has told me once again that she wants me to go 'Papa shopping.'
Tonight at bedtime she had her usual line of questioning, which always revolves around adoption. ' Mama, I'm going to live with you forever,' she explains with the fortitude of a politician. Once again I remind her that we don't get to choose, the government makes rules about that. I gently explain that the law says 'no papa, no adoption.' I've reminded her of this at least once a day every day for the past 2 weeks, because the question comes several times a day.
"Mama, then go get one." She states in Russian matter-of-factly, as if husbands were as easy to come by as bread.
I explain that it is not like that. There is no 'papa shopping' in America. But she follows me around the house with her little hands on her hips, berating me in frustration. She sits me on the bed and takes my face in her hands.
"Mama, you haven't even tried. I see you every day. You have not tried at all. Just go out tonight while I'm asleep and find one. They are everywhere, I promise. I think I saw some at the beach today. They were alone. I saw them. Go there or to a train station, maybe. Then I will meet him in the morning, ok?
I'm torn between laughing and weeping.
I bite my lip. The entire time she is talking, she is patting my hand in hers, like some old Babushka giving me advice.
'And Mama, I want him to be handsome' She adds, "And not too old.'
She asks me to write it down.
'And Mama, he should like dogs. I like dogs. I want my Papa to like dogs, and cats and fish and horses. Ok?'
This precious little soul. How do I explain to her that I will not be her mom? How do I tell her that fathers can't be found at beaches and train stations - at least not the way she wants and needs? My heart is heavy and cold. She is still tugging on my arm. 'Ok, Mama, ok? Dogs and cats and horses, too ?'
Ok, I say limply.
She is satisfied and runs to her dolls and lifts them in the air. I hear her telling them 'Little Sunshines! Mama is going to go shop for a Papa!
The door softly closes behind her.
I close my eyes.