Day #106: Don’t Blink, the Present is Becoming the Past

I was abruptly woken up at 5am by a little love complaining about her tummy hurting. Initially, I was very disappointed about being awake so early on a snow day but the next thing I knew we were running for the bathroom. And that pretty well summed up the rest of my day…

Finally about 4:00pm, after medicine and a nap, her stomach seemed to stop waging war with her. For some reason as she began to feel better, she got in her head she wanted to look at pictures. So we got out the baby books (yes, plural, she is the first!). As we looked and talked and laughed and sat side by side, I felt such nostalgia but such pride too.

What once was so little now is so strong… so helpless–now screams with independence… she has developed such intelligence, creativity, and personality… she is becoming right now… learning who she is and deciding what she likes and dislikes… she is beautiful in so many vibrant ways.

But I mourn too… the squishy and the toothless grins… being able to snuggle and dress her without her opinion about either… I miss watching her learn to walk and talk… I miss the mispronounced words and the squeaky voice… I miss the littlest versions of her.

I stayed up after she was asleep and looked through hundreds of digital pictures… remembering… reliving… re-loving that girl that I have always seemed to grow, first physically and now emotionally and intellectually…

Don’t blink, gentle readers, or the present most certainly becomes the past…

A girl sleeping in a colorful bed.

Day #88: Cuddles and the Fear of Being Discarded

Today I reveled in having my little love around. She is often gone on the weekends to her dad’s house and while I understand her need for her father and agree that they should share a relationship, the selfish part of me misses her like crazy on the weekends.

Mr. Meander had to go back to Fayetteville for some new running shoes because the ones we bought Friday were too big, so he was gone a chunk of the day. We missed him terribly but set about to busy ourselves until he got home.

I took her to the indoor pool at the gym where we played mermaids and horsey and anything else her mind could dream up. We grabbed Sonic on the way home and watched “The Book of Life” together as we devoured our food (after swimming for two hours we were both pretty ravenous) and then cuddled. We colored together and talked through it all. It was an amazing day of quality time that was much needed for me and probably her too.

My biggest hope in all the world is that one day she gets how awesome she is and how much I love her. I spend so much time worried at his point that maybe I’m screwing it all up… I know every good parent feels this way but still… my greatest parenting goal is for her to always feel like she can talk to me about anything, that communication stays open no matter the age… my biggest fear as a divorced parent is that she will choose to get away from me at some point.

But today in the midst of play and cuddles, I laid down the future angst and I just enjoyed her. It felt good and without agenda, I should really try it more often.

Bearded man in black hat, sitting on couch with his arm around blonde girl, wathching television.

Day #82: Childhood Daydreams and the Reality of Right Now

And now twelve hours back home… I’ve got work that needs to be done, pictures I can color, music we enjoy…

But it’s still a long ride.

I remember as a child loving road trips. We went camping frequently and I would beg to ride in the back of truck with the camper on it. We would pile up all our supplies and then I would make a bed on top and just lay back there by myself and daydream. I recall as a pre-adolescent sitting in the bucket seats of the minivan with my pillow propped and my headphones in and staring out the window just thinking the miles by.

As an adult I continue to love the open road, the distinct taste of possibility, the beauty of adventures not-yet-had, and the forced stillness in the holding cell between what is and what will be. But I wondered as I sat here today, what on earth did I think about so much and so deeply as a child, a teenager?

Most involved visions into my future, as I recall. Who I would marry… Where I would go… What I might accomplish with this one life… I’ve always been a planner, a dreamer, a doer…

But today I heard some news about a friend who is struggling with cancer. Way too young, way too healthy, way too close for comfort…

I’m thankful that science and technology have advanced to the point that prognosis is generally good. I hope her experience with this is as quick and painless as possible.

But what hits home for me is the reality that shit happens and it spares no one. No matter how “good” of a person you are, how health conscious you try to be, etc. etc. etc.

The rain just falls where it will… just and unjust included… and future daydreams seem silly in the vastness of all that is not guaranteed.

I find myself clinging to what today holds because it is all I know for sure.

Day #61

We were in the shower, Adalie and I, because sometimes it’s more convenient and honestly because we have some of our best conversations in there!

I will be 32 on Sunday. Some days I look at myself and think, “Alright! Only 32!” Other days, I see wrinkles, grays, “waves” in my legs (aka cellulite), and chub everywhere. As I ran today, I felt more like the latter. My knee was hurting, my calf muscle felt like it was locked up, and I had a side cramp. I ran most of the 3.8 miles but felt all of my years doing it!

So back to shower time …

Mom, will I have a big butt like you when I get older?” She giggles.

I roll my eyes to myself and try to be positive because one thing I am very careful about with her is positive body image. I see the effects of the societal pressure already … she wants dark hair, she wants “cool” clothes and asks to wear make up, she worries about getting fat. She is six years old! I look at her and see perfection, as all mama’s do I’m sure. She looks and sees mistakes; it breaks my heart.

So I try to be very positive and matter-of-fact about my own body. We talk about how my body was able to produce milk to sustain her. We talk about how strong our muscles must be to run (me) and dance (her). We talk about food and how it nourishes us or harms us. We talk about all kinds of things and I honor her curiosity with honest (developmentally appropriate) answers. And because of that, I hope she will never be afraid of her own body. That no one will shame her about her sexuality or her biology. That she will accept, and then love, herself in every stage of womanhood.

So slightly embarrassed, I answer her, “You might have a bootie like mine one day, when you grow a baby in our tummy or get older.”

I expect horror or exasperation or at the very least her to poke fun at me.

“Yes!” She says instead, “I think you have the cutest bootie.”

I must be doing something right …

A girl on the floor reading a book.