Wednesday was the strangest day of the last 4+ years of my life: Girl 1 amused herself all day long: playing believe with her dolls, drawing on paper, dancing around the house. All I did was feed her meals, put on Sesame Street at one point (at her request), and play princesses for a few minutes. She didn’t even protest when I put the princess doll down.
This is the girl who, since the day she was born, has delighted in nothing half so much as getting all up in my grill. She never found herself in a situation that wouldn’t be made better by demanding something of her mother. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve thought, “Why can’t you go away for a while so I can miss you?”
And suddenly she did.
And I did.
Even though she was just in the next room.
This was the moment I had waited for, the light at the end of the tunnel, blessed peace at last. And yet, to quote Ruby Gillis on heaven:
Oh Anne, it isn’t what I’ve been used to.
Pat assures me that playing quietly to oneself is a normal part of childhood. I don’t know. I can’t help but see it as an omen that one day she will grow up and want to leave me.
In the past few months, Girl 1 has taken to climbing into bed with Pat and me in the middle of the night. She never slept with us before, even as an infant. Now I often don’t even notice when she crawls in. I wake up at some point later to find her next to me, sleeping in 5T footsie pajamas. 5T is the last size in which I easily can find non-ironic footsie pajamas. I’m so grateful for these footsie pajama moments because . . .
This morning I read this passage in Ann Voskamp‘s One Thousand Gifts:
My baby is five. She falls asleep in my arms . . . and I can’t capture it, hold it, this, her life now, me in this moment. She is leaving me, she’s growing up and moving away from me, and she stirs and I sweep back the crop of the golden ringlets. Stay, Little One, stay. Love’s a deep wound and what is a mother without a child and why can’t I hold on to now forever and her here and me here and why does time snatch away a heart I don’t think mine can beat without? Why do we all have to grow old? Why do we have to keep saying good-bye?
Stay, little one, stay.
A few nights ago Girl 1 was struggling to enunciate the last lines of the Lord’s Prayer. I really stuck my foot in it.
“De-li-ver us from e-vil.”
“Do you know what that means, Girl 1? It means . . . keep us away from evil. Evil means . . . bad things.”
” . . . You mean when I was crying yesterday, I was being evil.”
“No! No no, sweets, you are not evil. You are . . . not evil. Evil means bad things like . . . scary monsters . . . and bad guys . . . and . . . the big bad wolf.”
“Oh, like scary monsters and bad guys and the big bad wolf? Scary monsters . . . bad guys . . . the big bad wolf.”
“That’s right. Good night, Girl 1. Sweet dreams.”
Next day, after saying Grace:
“Mommy, what does ‘holy’ mean?”
“Err, holy means . . . someone who is close to God.”
“Oh, someone who is close to God? . . . What does ‘spirit’ mean?”
“Uh, ah, er, ah . . . spirit means . . . spirit means . . . spirit means a person . . . apersonthatwecan’t seenowthat’senougheatyourlunch.”
— 7 —
New rule: no lying on the dining table, except when waiting for a new pope to be announced:
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