From the Archives: Moments Like This
This may sound strange, but in many ways, I think I always saw motherhood as an infinitely spiritual exercise. In many ways, spending time with my daughter, loving her, and delighting in her was my special way of praying. There are several such moments that unfold in the snippets below -- throughout both good times and bad. I am so grateful that I still have this record of our early years together, and even more grateful that I can share them again with the world here.
September 8th, 2002:
A. turned three. The event was marked by two celebrations. The first, taking place the weekend before, involving much chaos, family, and huge amounts of gift-giving, by which the starfish was quite intimidated and overwhelmed, and spent most of the time trying to hide the the hallway. The second one, her actual day, I took her swimming, in a creek. We had cake. Erin brought her yarn.
It was happy, and calm. Further testimony to the ultimate meaninglessness of stuff. Erin keeps trying to tell me this. She has much knowledge.
I've started classes, again. I'm taking sixteen hours, and I love all my classes, and the readings, and the basic theme of the semester. I don't want to drop any of them, even though I've run myself ragged. I was also working for the school newspaper, but I dropped that project today. I don't like living stressed. It isn't good for me -- and, more importantly, it isn't good for A.. Calm is better. Calm is good. I like calm.
A. has graduated to a toddler bed, and there is much rejoicing. She started climbing out of her crib, and was no longer happy sleeping in it, and so I put her mattress in a tent, which she liked to play in, but it really was too fun to actually *sleep* in. After a few broken nights of sleep, I went out and got her a toddler bed this weekend, and last night she slept just fine and perfect. I am knocking on wood for a repeat performance, tonight.
September 11th, 2002:
"Swimming," my daughter jabbers happily, as I grab a towel with which to extricate her from the bathtub. She's wearing this devious grin. "Let's go swimming."
"We can't go swimming," I say, and I smile, because I think this might be a game. "It's nighttime. Time to go to sleep."
"School," my daughter insists, laughing at this point. "Let's go to school."
"No, goomba," I laugh, and grab her with the towel, and tickle her, and we both laugh. "We can't go to school right now! We can go to school in the morning!"
Later, A. sits in her bed, turning the pages in her Roy Lichtenstein alphabet book, naming the letters and the pictures methodically, making up words when the illustrations are too postmodern for her.
There are times, and I think: there's nothing abnormal about my child. Y'all are crazy.
She sleeps, now, at night. We have a routine. We read our books, do our songs, and she'll lay down for a bit in bed, while I sit beside her. If she's sleepy, she'll drift off to sleep with a little encouragement. If not, I eventually surrender my bedside post, turn off most of the lights in the house, pick up a book from my homework stack and settle myself on the couch, reading. She'll follow me in, grab a pillow, and lay on the couch, jabbering happily to herself, occasionally noticing that I have a book in my hands. "Book," she'll say, or, "Reading." Sometimes, she'll squirm inbetween my face and the book, and wrap her arms around me. "Big hug," she'll say, and I'll say, "I love you," and she'll say, "Awwwww." Eventually, she'll drift off to sleep, and I'll carry her into her room, and tuck her into bed.
At four o'clock in the morning, she wakes up, stumbles into my room, and crawls into bed with me. Usually, she'll go right back fast to sleep, and she won't wake up when my alarm goes off. She gets that from me -- I *barely* wake up when my alarm goes off. And I'll grab the glorified-word-processor-that-was-once-called-a-laptop and write for about half an hour, and then start getting ready for the day, for school, for life. It's amazing, sometimes, just waking up in the morning. It sounds silly, but. It is. It's nice, being a mommy.
September 29th, 2002:
It's my grandfather's birthday today. My mother, grandmother, A., and myself drove to the graveyard this morning to straighten up the flowers and just spend a little time. A.'s grown so accustomed to playing around in hospitals and cemetaries, I'm sure she's going to have some weird sort of complex when she gets older. She runs along the rows of headstones, sometimes stopping at odd moments to touch a few, sometimes trying to steal the flags off of the veterans' graves, and I always snatch them away from her, put them back, mumbling, 'sorry, but I'm sure you know how it is.'
My little angel has been having a bad past twenty-four hours. She screams and cries and throws a fit over every single little thing, and I haven't the faintest idea what she wants, because she refuses to use English. Things that normally make her happy are highly irritating to her, now. Her sleep patterns are off again. I think she isn't feeling too well -- I had a sore throat and was feeling sorta funky yesterday, though I am practically perfect today. It could be she has a sore throat, too, or is feeling off. Things are relatively quiet today, so I'm hoping this will help her.
I know the weekends throw her off because they are so erratic and non-scheduled in comparison to the rest of the week. She's so used to doing the same thing every single day, and on the weekends (especially when we don't travel somewhere, since I imagine as much of that as we do, this has become a part of her weekend expectations) it's pretty much a free-for-all, where I try to get done around the house anything I couldn't get done in the week, and it's a pretty moment-by-moment, play-by-ear sort of schedule. It also could be because my grandmother is very anxious and nervous right now, about trying to get the house repaired enough to sell and all, and she could be picking up on that anxiety. A.'s amazingly perceptive when it comes to that sort of thing.
And, I also know my daughter, and that, tomorrow, she will be much better. It's just getting through the rest of this day without pulling *all* of my hair out that will be a chore. However, I got plenty of sleep last night, and I'm in a very good, stress-free mood, so it should not be so difficult. Sleep is a good thing. A very good thing. I highly recommend it, if you haven't had it for a while.
September 30th, 2002:
I love the fact that when I open my back door, I smell watermelon. I'd think I was being visited by angels, except rumor has it that angels always smell like cookies. Or maybe that's just John Travolta.
A. is an angel. She smells like cookies, sometimes.
I love my daughter because, today, she followed directions at school, and played and laughed with other children in her class. I also love her because she screams if I take an alternate route home, and that experience for her is sandwiched between music and movie quotes.
October 23rd, 2002:
Yesterday, I grabbed A. after speech therapy and we hunted down ice cream. The lady gave her a free cookie. We walked back to the car, A. on my hip, sharing ice cream, our faces sticky and the wind sending our hair in various directions, laughing. And I thought to myself: moments like this; moments like this.