It's dangerous to fall into this space - the one where I'm not writing it down. Because getting it down in words is a huge part of how I process. It always has been. I got my first diary when I was about 8 years old. It had pink, lined pages and a girl wearing a straw hat with a blue bow standing in a ring of flowers on the front. It had a paper hinge with a little gold lock and a thin metal 'key' that never really worked. I hid the diary between my mattresses because God forbid my mother should ever find what deep thoughts lurked in my 8-year-old mind. Things like, "Went swimming today." Riveting.
It grew from those tiny seeds though and my need to journal and chronicle has since filled volumes. If something is really, really upsetting I'll either get after cleaning the house or sitting down and writing for hours. Sometimes those stories are bound while other events were written on stacks of printer paper or a legal pad. I have some blank books that are just so beautiful that I can hardly bring myself to write in them. One day I will throw them along with the words and thoughts that inhabit them into the bottom of a metal barrel or a grill, douse them with lighter fluid and watch them burn. I've done it with every journal, every writing since I can remember: watched my written history turn to ashes and float away on the winds. I've read that some people like to re-read them. Not me. I also never got back together with old boyfriends. I don't need to relive it. The ritual of writing and purging is a huge release.
This space right here is the only one where I record things with the intention of them being printed, bound, and given to my daughter as a permanent record of her early history. A history that she will have no memory of without me to help her fill in the details. Sometimes the words don't come easily. They're in my head: there are memories to record and pictures to include but sitting-down-to-do-it part just doesn't happen. Or it does happen and the next day I re-read an embarrassingly whiney or desperately negative post. Then there are some things that are too private, things you can't write about publicly because it isn't your story to tell. But it impacts you all the same.
There are 6 unpublished blog posts sitting in my que right now so I've been writing something. Trust me, you don't want to know. Its not like our family has come upon some life-changing challenge that can be woven into a great story of triumph! It's all stuff that we all deal with and it will eventually land in our Weber, doused with lighter fluid, while I stand back with a glass of wine and a deep breath to watch it burn. The way it's meant to be. A year from now I don't want to be reminded with detailed descriptions of worries and hardships. And 20 years from now I don't want Ada to read this and know anything other than this: we got through it because that's what we do. Besides, at this point it all seems so ... last week.
A few things roll out as beautiful commonalities over the past 2 weeks though:
Her sense of wonder:
The apple didn't fall far from the tree, I can tell you that much. On a rainy, miserable Friday morning we made our way to the Exploratorium down in the Marina. I thought Ada's head was going to explode. Mine too a little. I saw the work-shop there and said to Kathi, "That must be the greatest job in the whole world. You just get to hang out and test basic principles of physics all day." If academic science had worked out to be more like, more like I thought it would be then I might have stuck with it.
Her growing sense of independence:
She has yet to turn into one of those kids who wants to do everything herself. Instead, I hear a lot of "Mama, Heeeeep!" But she is wildly confident when it comes to certain things. I take this as a sign that we have settled a good, secure foundation for her because this girl is totally happy to run off and explore with no regard for where we are. It's not just toddler lack of attention either. Sort of like she knows we're following and wouldn't dare leave her all alone. I love it that she knows this, that she feels it at her core that we will never, ever abandon her.
Her self expression:
Need I say more? By the way, the singing along with the radio comes now complete with vocal intonations and appropriate emphasis on particular parts of the song. I search for Pumped Up Kicks and Somebody I Used to Know on purpose scanning the stations just so that I can hear her sing along. Oh God, and if she starts dancing?
You know, I think she's going to be just fine. We're guiding her with the complete recognition that at this age her frontal lobes are connected to the rest of her brain by a precarious, often-interrupted thread. Toddlers act how they do for a reason: It's developmentally appropriate. It is not, however, alway resulting in appropriate behavior. I am her ambassador so when she does something particularly uncalled for (like push her favorite friend for no reason at all) it's my job to swoop in and try to make it better AND harness this moment to teach her how to be compassionate and considerate. It's not always easy. Or fun.
All said, despite how freaking exhausted I am ALL THE TIME and the various random stuff coming up lately that falls into the category of "Sucks-a-whole-lot" I can say without hesitation that I am so over-the-moon for this kid that every day there is some little memory I wish I could record or bottle up and save forever. And that's cool. I love there is a moment in every single day when, no matter what else is happening I can look at her and be washed over with a sense of peace and overwhelming love for her. And she makes me laugh.
Things I want to remember about right now:
Her singing along to "Somebody I Used to Know" in the back of the car.
How she makes up words to Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star and the ABC song.
The sound of her footsteps when she runs from her bed to ours first thing when she wakes up. I love it that her first thought is to come snuggle with mommy (that's me).
Baby brothers tiny kicks.
How she reads along with her favorite books now. Today I heard her reading "Freight Train" all to herself. She has the whole book memorized.
How she'll only lick ice cream but won't take a bite of it.
Happy Monday! More to come. April is almost here!