This afternoon when I swung by daycare to pick up Anna, she was waiting in her usual spot at the bottom of the stairs for me. She usually sits there, patiently looking through a book or playing with a doll while her babysitter feeds the littlest friend on the couch. When Anna sees me, she usually squeals and jumps up-- happy to have played with her friends but excited for our upcoming time together.
Today she threw her baby doll over her shoulder, slipped into her flip-flops like a skilled 16 year old heading to the beach, waved bye-bye to Kris, and marched out the door as she casually threw out a sing songy "see ya soon" (seeah sooon) over her shoulder. We hopped in the van, turned up Kids Place Live and headed home. But three blocks out of the driveway, we passed a park and saw a little family playing -- the dad pushing the kids extra high on the swings-- their feet kicked up in the air and bright against the piercing blue sky. Anna instantly shouted, "Singing! Singing!" which directly translates to: "Swinging! Someone is swinging and now I want to do that too!" And because the bright blue sky and cool autumn breeze and pumpkins beginning to pepper front door stoops just beg people to spend one more minute outside....we did.
We came home and the three of us (Anna, her new baby doll, and I) headed to our backyard where we proceeded to swing Baby and climb Baby ("Kye-ming") and slide Baby. We laughed and giggled and swung and climbed and slid for a good fifteen minutes while I silently praised myself for just going with the flow and enjoying the moment. Because, you know.... this amazingly beautiful day and this crisp fresh air was, in fact, going to 'tucker her out' for a well-deserved nap.
So let's fast-forward a few minutes and do a little time lapse:
1:07 We've come inside and are in Anna's room. I've picked out two books and am ready to read them, but Anna is still pulling book after book off her shelf. I'm cool with that.
1: 12 First book is done and Anna has been on and off the bed five times. Each time she says, "I'll get it!" and hops off... and then climbs back up saying, "I got it?" I smile and nod and say "Yay!!" because I don't really know what else to do and say.
1:15 Second book is a bust. Anna has tossed it aside and is upside down peeking through her legs in Downward Facing Dog pose. (Note: Anna's down-dog pose is super cute and adorable and impossible to deter her from doing.)
1:16 I'm lying down saying, "Shhhh. Shhhh. Time for nigh-night."
1:16 Anna is saying, "No." "No nigh-night." "Where my Barbie?"
1:18 Anna is back on the floor, and shouting, "My Barbie!" (which sounds a little Bostonian because she can't say her R's) and pulls out her new mermaid Barbie that Mason hastily shoved under the bed last night. This Barbie has been in our family for one day and already we're trying to figure out how to confiscate it and where to stash it so she can sleep. See, the thing lights up like a college night club with flashy red and blue lights which, (while super cool), doesn't really seem to be helpful in getting a toddler to sleep.
1:20 I have tried to tear Anna away from the flashy Mermaid Barbie to no avail. I glance at my watch for the first time. Hmmm....
1:21 Anna is now on the bed but not doing yoga this time. Now she is clinging on to her headboard rails and bouncing. She sings, "Bounce Bounce Bounce!" as she rhythmically hops up and down on her bed. I keep pretending to sleep.
1:22 I'm thinking about all the leftover pizza I've eaten today and wondering if there is still more in the fridge.
1:24 Anna is saying, "Kye-it Anna! Mama seeping. Anna bouncing! Shhhhh!" I'm smiling but still pretending to be asleep.
1:27 Anna is now sitting on my head. She's still bouncing and the bed is squeaking. It's really rhythmic and it makes me laugh because I'm inappropriate like that. But I can't laugh because 1) I'm pretending to be asleep and 2) Anna's sitting on my head and I really can't breathe very well.
1:29 All of the sudden I see a disco ball in front of my eyelids. It's bright and pulsing and a little disconcerting. I pop my eyes open and come face to face with Mermaid Barbie and Anna peering into my eyes. "Mommy up! Morning Mama!" I close my eyes to fake sleep again. I have been fake sleeping for one hundred hours.
1:30 Anna snuggles down and her binkie falls out of her mouth. In her immediate worry over the lost binkie, I snag the psychedelic Mermaid and shove her under a quilt that's tucked into my armpit. I'm willing her not to start flashing her flashy Mermaid lights while she's under the blanket.
1:31 Anna has found her binkie and is snuggling down to sleep. I glance at my watch again. I'm getting hungry but she'll be lights-out soon....
1:32 I hear Anna get up and bounce to the foot of the bed to do part 2 of her bed-trampoline act. While bouncing, she notices another Barbie on the floor....
1:36 I'm beginning to think that maybe fake sleeping my afternoon away isn't such a good use of my time. (Watching Y&R on our couch, on the other hand, is very productive.)
1:37 Anna is playing with her dresser. It has 12 knobs and she is practicing turning all of them. She also appears to be checking on whether or not the drawers open and close functionally.
1:39 I decide fake sleeping isn't very productive so I heave myself up from the bed, and inch to the door. Anna protests--(cries) but I close the door gently behind me, having successfully smuggled Mermaid Barbie out of the room (wrapped up in a giant ball of a quilt) and leaving Anna alone with her dresser knobs and leftover Barbies that don't light up.
1:41 Anna is now the actor-- she's fake crying in her room and I'm hunched over the counter, eating cold pizza straight from the Pyrex container. I don't even feel guilty about acting like an animal-- I"ve been thinking about this moment for awhile.
1:45 All is quiet. I momentarily worry-- it's the crux of parenting because what you desperately want (a little peace and quiet) is usually pretty terrifying and unsettling when it happens.
1:49 It has been quiet for too long and I'm a little worried so I tiptoe into Anna's room and discover her passed out on her floor, with a Barbie clutched in her hand. I carefully pick her up, move her to the bed, and cover her up with a soft & well-loved blanket from my childhood.
1:50 I'm kneeling next to Anna's bed, smiling over this past hour together-- how sweet and fun this little person is. I take a moment to marvel at how alive she is with energy and enthusiasm and spark. And then I kiss her soft little arm, tiptoe out of her room, and sink into our couch.
Monday, September 26, 2016
Wednesday, September 14, 2016
- Our house. It's tidy--the nightly post kids' bedtime pick-up has been done. Babies and dollies and Matchbox cars have been put to rest in their proper places, only to be disrupted in about twelve hours. The dishwasher is humming quietly, a week's worth of clothes are in the washer (and dryer). Backpacks are sitting next to the front door, ready to be slung over backs as we hurry out the door in the morning. Our windows are open and a cool September breeze is making our curtains waver ever so slightly. Mason's flipping through the channels (currently landed on an old rerun of How I Met Your Mother) but I can't really hear it anyway because the buzz of crickets outside our window is so loud and somewhat distracting. (And so is Julia's voice, calling for her dogs which have apparently, run away once again.) We're clean and showered and well-fed and Ylang Ylang is in the diffuser helping us relax and melt into our selves (just like the Young Living brochure says it would do).
Tears rolled down my face as I breathed in Anna's sweet after-bath baby scent-- you know exactly what smell I'm talking about. It's sort of citrusy and light and sweet with maybe the tiniest hint of syrup-- because someone always has syrup with breakfast. Maybe all this gratitude "gushiness' was result of the glass of wine at dinner or the candles I burned for the first time in months...but I'm pretty sure it was more likely a result of Anna sleepily saying, "Maaaa-maaaa..... Maaaa-maaaa? I wuv woo. I wuuuuv wooo!" as she settled into sleep. This from the girl who refuses to say "I love you" (Wuv Woo) during the daytime hours and insists on saying "No wuv woo. No like it. No Mama!"
When I tiptoed out of Anna's room, cheeks salty from tears, I looked at Mason and said, "Do you ever just get overwhelmed with gratitude for this whole thing? I mean, our life....really!" He smiled and nodded and said he knew exactly what I was talking about.
Today was a good day. I know exactly why. Something incredible happened-- we all four woke up healthy and (relatively) happy. We woke up to the safety and comfort of our stable home. How incredible is that? I experienced something extraordinary. I taught a guidance lesson to fourth graders about community and when I invited them to share their feelings about the activity, they opened their hearts and shared with such sincere vulnerability that I could have cried. How extraordinary is that? I went to work and saw people and friends that brighten my day and make me want to come back for more...even on Mondays. (Usually) I was productive. I went to work and talked a fourth grader out of his tears, received a group hug from 20 first graders, and found a little note from a coworker tucked in my mailbox. I enjoyed a beautiful afternoon walk to pick up Charlie. And as we walked home, he chattered about his day and his writing assignment and what he ate for lunch...the whole time keeping his hand tucked tightly into mine. I dedicated 30 minutes to myself--to my body-- to bend and stretch and move in ways that some 38 year old women can only imagine. And even though I can't touch my forehead to the ground in Dragon pose (...yet!), (or do a handstand....yet) I stretched and moved and had fun with this one vessel I've been given. I traveled. The three of us took a long afternoon stroll on our nature trail-- Anna insisting to wear her new flip flops despite the tiny pieces of gravel and sand that kept deterring her. Charlie, ran ahead, lost in his imaginary game, legs jumping, arms waving wildly-- like a marionette gone wild. And today, I said things worth remembering. I told the kids I work with that they are important to me. I told Mason that he's a great daddy. I talked with Liz on the phone and told her to have a good day. And I cuddled Charlie and kissed him until he played his trump card ("I'm gonna wet my pants!") and I threw Anna upside down until she nearly choked on her giggles. And I said things that will forever be remembered. I told my kids I love them. I told them they're the most incredible kids. I told them I feel lucky to be their mama. It's probably not publishable stuff...but hopefully it's memorable stuff.
And then tonight, as Mason drew their bath and I searched for Blankie, a bright pink streak caught my eye outside our window. I grabbed my phone and took a quick shot of the incredible sunset-- the sprinkles on the cake that was this day. This totally normal, sacred ordinary day.