Yesterday I was in my kitchen cave, listening to Radiolab and making dinner, when I felt a tiny tap on my back. When I turned around, my Foos was standing there, holding up this piece of paper and beaming at me. I got all verklempt, fell to my knees, and gave her the biggest squeeze. People say a lot of cheesy shit about their children, most of which feels obligatory, but this girl, you guys, makes me feel like the luckiest mom in the Virgo Supercluster.
We live in an old neighborhood very close to downtown. The houses are close together, the trees are at war with the sidewalks, and the roads are always busy. It’s a good place for walking, but my daughter, much to my dismay, doesn’t want to walk. She wants to ride her trike, a rusty Red Flyer she got two christmases ago, everywhere. In theory this sounds like a great arrangement, but it isn’t for me, because I am impatient. Firstly, we go slower on a trike. She has to stop every couple of feet to pick up leaves, flowers, and any random thing she sees in her path, to put in her basket. One time she picked up a rock that turned out to be poop. I am not proud of this, but I always have to remind myself to slow down, we are not in a hurry, that it is good she is so curious about and in love with the world around her. When I don’t remind myself of those wonderful things, I’m usually annoyed at the glacial pace of the whole endeavor.
She also likes to stop in the middle of the road just long enough for the signal to go from the friendly white outline of a person walking into the red hand telling you “you’re in danger girl.” This always sends me into panic mode because A. Jacksonville is ranked the third worst city in the country for pedestrians due to pedestrian deaths and B. that little girl is all I’ve got. Another reason I dislike how fond she is of riding her trike everywhere, is that even though she always rides the trike to our destination, she never wants to ride it back! We make all kinds of deals, we even pinky swear, and no matter how much she promises she will, she never rides it back. So I have to carry this trike back home, usually in 90 degree weather while also encouraging her to walk a little faster because “mommy is boiling and this trike is heavy.” The real lesson here is that I need to relax and not hurry my daughter. My goal is her happiness, and she is happiest when she is exploring at her own pace.
I am not a morning person, but on most days I wake up at some ungodly hour in order to have a little bit of time to myself. I shuffle out of bed, cursing every creak coming from the ancient wooden floor on my way to the bathroom. Every noise, every shuffle, every tick, the sound of a not so distant train, or an ambulance going by, means I am thismuch closer to my Foos waking up. Sitting on the toilet and reading facebook updates (nothing happens in the lives of my friends between the hours of 10 pm and 6 am btw), is an anxiety riddled affair, is she going to knock on the door now? If I flush the toilet, will she hear it? Don’t run the water, don’t run the water. Usually, everything goes swimmingly, I go into the kitchen make some coffee then tiptoe into my mom hovel (office/craft room) and do some stretching. The stretching part is a half assed endeavor, because mom hovel is basically a tiny room with a million windows. I’m convinced every person driving to work can see me doing stretches I have invented and/or poor versions of yoga moves I’ve picked up here and there. It makes me self-conscious. Then I sit on a cushion, drinking my coffee, daydreaming about all the things I’m going to get done today. All the articles I’m going to read, the craft project I started six months ago and want to finish, all the clothes I’m going to mend, that awesome job I’m going to apply to because I totally need the money. Then I hear little feet running from room to room looking for me. And Foos’ raspy morning voice, mouth dry from snoring, crying “Mom? Mom?” My day no longer belongs to me. And that’s okay, at least I had forty minutes.