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So Big, So Small

Silhouette Of Mother And Young Children Holding Hands At Sunset

It was a February day
When your dad came by, before going away
A U-Haul truck in the driveway
The day it was suddenly real

I told you not to come outside
But you saw that truck
And you smiled so wide
A real live truck in your driveway
We let you sit behind the wheel

Goodbye, goodbye.

Now it’s just me and my little guy.

And the house felt so big, and I felt so small.

That night I tucked you into bed
I will never forget how you sat up and said,
“Is there another truck coming to our driveway?
A truck that will take Mommy away.”

And the house felt so big, and I felt so small.

And I knew there would be moments that I’d miss.
And I know there would be space I couldn’t fill.
And I knew I’d come up short a billion different ways.
And I did.
And I do.
And I will.

~ ~ ~

We are big fans of the musical Dear Evan Hansen. It’s the current sound trac of choice, played on a solid repeat in our house, and only now breaking the cycle of Hamilton that we’ve played on repeat for the last year.

This song could be an anthem for single moms.

It doesn’t tell my story exactly, since Robb never planned to leave. But it does tell my story very closely, about the moments and days and weeks of the Great Sadness.

When the house felt so big, and I felt so small.

When I was so aware that I couldn’t be everything they needed.

When they were so afraid I’d be gone, too. Sometimes I couldn’t make enough promises to quiet them to sleep.

I remember the season when I would take a Crayola marker with me when I checked on them before I went to sleep. I’d put a little checkmark on each little boy’s hand, so when he woke up and he worried, he could see the checkmark. It meant, “Mommy was here. She checked on me.”

I’ve said before that their understanding of that season changes with time. As their cognitive abilities grow, they have a deeper awareness. As they live more life, they learn more about death.

This song has brought us all to a new place in this home. The song comes on in the car, and my boys turn it up, close their eyes, and lean their heads back. They listen and feel.

One boy said, “Mom, this is our story.”

And his brother said, “I love this song and I hate it.”

One boy said, “You could have died because you were so sad.”

And his brother said, “But you had two good reasons to live.”


They’re beginning to see their mom.
A real person.
With courage and sadness and strength and mistakes.

And then we get to our favorite part of the song.


Your mom isn’t going anywhere.

Your mom is staying right here.

Your mom isn’t going anywhere.

Your mom is staying right here.

No matter what.

No matter what, I’ll be here.


I hold hands with whichever boy is in the front seat beside me. And we remember.

Tricia Lott Williford

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