Never Forget: One year and Three and a half years
I was sick yesterday. Drugged up on Alka-Seltzer and fighting off a cold or allergies or just a general lack of sleep, my head was a groggy mess. And as I sat down to write this post, I only stared at the blank white screen. I was exhausted and thinking fondly of my children right after fighting one who just wanted to stick his hand in the toilet and the other who needed to properly align all 13 of her animals on the bed before even considering getting in for a nap, I was struggling. What are the sweet little quirks and personality markers of my darling children in this moment of our lives? I got nothing.
And that right there is why I write. So I never forget. So when I wading through the fog of the preschool years with tiny, emotional, needy and sticky little people, I can remember you. So when I am picking up a new career in taxi driver navigating the itinerary of ballet/soccer/martial arts/or whatever else all the kids HAVE to do when they hit elementary years that I forget to eat lunch and brush my hair and what my middle name is, I can remember you. So when I am not being the “cool mom” like all the other moms and we yell and you glare at me and all that pubescent energy pours out of you and I feel like I am suddenly living with an alien who happens to have her drivers’ license, I will remember you. So when you are gone and living life and forget to call, I will remember you.
This is why I write. Because life will happen. You will grow and I can’t wait for that. But I still never want to forget.
Elliott – One Year
- You know that thing ET does in the movie when he points his finger to Elliott’s finger and says “Elliott”? I swear I never taught you this. You just picked it up all on your own. Right around 10 months when you started pointing. But now, you are less likely to use it with other people and instead just with me, when we are snuggling. You seek out my finger, in fact. It’s the sweetest. I pretend it is your little sign for “I love you.” You know as soon as you are old enough we are going to make you love that movie. How could we not?
- You love music. Any kind of music. You hear a beat, and your head starts boppin’. And when you don’t hear music, you dance to the sound of a whisk or chopping or water running. When the stars align and you are happily feeding yourself in your chair and I am able to be domestic and cook or clean or do whatever domestic people do, you find that to be the perfect beat box for your moves. And when there isn’t a sound, you make one. Tapping on anything you can find. You gravitate towards the instruments in your room but you don’t stop there. Spoons on trashcans, or tables, or heads, or expensive TVs, make really cool sounds too. This is a very awesome skill that I hope you never lose.
- You are not even walking yet and already I feel like I am chasing you everywhere. People ask if you are walking and I respond “NO, thank goodness.” Your crawl is already too fast for me not to mention your ever developing climbing skills. But you on the other hand, are quite entertained by this. The game of chase from me or your sister or even the dog elicits this gasping high pitch giggle. It’s the kind of sound that expresses all things delightful. I think it is where the word “glee” comes from. Pure joy. To be wild and free yet loved and sought after. I want to make it my goal to find more of that glee in my life.
- You love your Mama. There is no other way to say it. I refuse to call you a “Mama’s boy” because that phrase disgusts me. But there is no doubt your happy place is in my arms. You have taken to wrapping your little arms all the way around my neck, squeezing tight, patting my back. And then, when you really want to settle into a snuggle, you bring your arms down in front of you between your chest and mine. Like you are burying in to hibernate for the winter. I can feel my heart rate drop to a steady and content beat. And I am surprised you aren’t dancing to it.
Caroline – Three and A Half
- “When I was a little girl…” begins just about every story you share with us. It began right around this summer, after spending time with my parents and sharing memories with her of my childhood. We like to joke that you are the greatest “one-upper.” One cannot tell a story without you piping in about the very same experience from when you were a little girl. I know all of this is the product of your incredible imagination and desire to story tell. The stories are truly grand. And although I worry one day in school someone might perceive this trait as a perpetual liar, I make a point to remind you of what a great story that is. I feel like a story teller myself. May you always feel free to tell your story.
- Children are always asking questions. But lately your questions have moved beyond just “why” to really wanting to seek out the wonders of the world around you. Watching any sporting event is a series on a sports science as you engage and question each move and each player and their role and their thought process. You notice signs as we drive and want to know what they mean and how to follow them. You ask about in new words you hear. You are a scientist all day long and your curiosity teaches me to be more observant of the world around me, too.
- God gave you your mama’s big feeling heart and you use it daily. And not just for your own feelings. You truly understand and observe others’ feelings as well, particularly mine. I cannot hide my frustration from you for a second. You hear that deep sigh, that firm tone, you know the one where you are gritting through your teeth as you ask your child to put on their pants for the 27th time that morning and you are trying so desperately to keep it together. “Why are you being so angry, mommy? I don’t want you to be angry all day.” And in that moment, you are like my little therapist, reflecting back my emotions, giving me time to pause and reflect and then open up an opportunity to communicate before I reach yelling capacity. I am in awe of this ability but also sometimes worry about it. The other day when hurrying to leave the house for a meeting I was exasperated by something, or nothing, and I noticed you were sitting quietly with a frown on your face. “What’s wrong, Caroline?” I ask impatiently and disapprovingly. “I’m worried about you mommy.” Oh dear child. You should never be the one to worry about your mother. Your concern was all I needed to turn my mood around. You made me stop and prove I can and should be strong for you, but also, sometimes moms too are weak and just need a hug. I anticipate many heartfelt conversations between you and I for years to come.
- You got a haircut the other day. It was much needed but also much avoided. As the mother of a little girl, I long for the days when I master the perfect French braid or I get to finally use a curling iron on those beautiful long locks. But your hair has another plan, and the stylist reminded me a cut would make it healthier and may suit her better for awhile. Boy was she right. When she finished that sweet bob on your head, I wanted to kiss that stranger right there in the hair salon. She found a way to show me a glimpse of the littlest toddler I once had as well as the grown up, sassy and shining girl you are growing up to be. I have always felt confident in the years until three so seeing you grow beyond that (I mean you are already three AND A HALF, ancient), it makes me a little nervous of the uncertainty. But that little haircut of yours was enough to show you may be growing up, but you will forever be Sweet Caroline.
In the light of the morning, with a good rest behind me, before the noise and the tears and the mess begins, I remember so I never forget.
And for other things I never want to forget...Six months and Three Years.