I’m sorry I missed your day. We/re moving into our new house but it’ll be awhile before we sort out the modern luxury of internet. The time I spend at the old place is for hauling and sorting and cleaning or for doing laundry. It started out that I forgot to write you yesterday and then turned into there was no time. It was a pretty epic day, all told, so I thought I’d tell you the story of it. One of those days that might as well go down in our family history, not because it was particularly momentous, but because it was so full of real life.
We dashed over to the old house as soon as we woke up in the morning and you and Jacob ate cheerios and raisins from Ziploc bags and made messes in the mud and whined while I worked to dismantle our small garden, laying the border bricks on a tarp in the back of the van and bagging the plants I wanted to save. Our next stop was the farmer’s market to buy a few seedlings, but since I left my keys on the floor of the van under the tarp that now held all the bricks (not that I knew this at the time) we were slightly thwarted. Tabitha came to the rescue, since she was going to the market with us anyway, and after more stressful, anxious, vain searching for keys we piled into her van and set off.
In the middle of my frantic search for keys I got a text from Patrick – dear, dear, one-and-only Patrick – to say his moving truck had come and was making quick work. I’d forgotten completely that we were going to go watch the truck get loaded and kiss our friend goodbye. So before the farmer’s market we dashed over to Patrick’s apartment in time to watch the last items get loaded and the doors get locked. And then we said a teary goodbye. The tears were mine and Patrick’s. You didn’t quite comprehend what was happening. You were just happy to be with him and gleeful as we assured ourselves, choking out the words, that we would visit and send mail and make phone calls.
Do you know what an incredible gift Patrick has been to you? You love him more than anyone. He is your BFF. And the thing that staggers my mommy-mind is that he loves you. I thought I was going to hold it together yesterday morning, not give into my own sorrow at the thought of walking my preschoolers through their first monumental loss. But then as he hugged your brother he started to cry, and that was the end of it for me. Maybe you’ll feel this as a mother: that your kids are a big task, a huge responsibility, and you are lucky enough to have a few people who’ve got your back and come alongside to shoulder the load a bit and laugh at your kids and put their photos on their phone screens besides. And then maybe you’ll discover that it’s not kindness or sympathy for you, the overwhelmed Mom, that’s driving their companionship but genuine affection – stomach-turning love for your little crazy filthy monsters. Go ahead and try to not cry.
We waved him off as he drove away and then set out for the farmer’s market. I was trying to not think about my missing keys and the fact that our spare key was also missing and so our van, with all my muddy garden mess, was stuck pulled up into the sidewalk of our old townhouse building, for who-knows-how-long. No doubt my neighbors would hate and judge me, my property manager would fine me, and I wouldn’t be able to drive you to church in the morning. Nevermind the garden. The farmer’s market was balm for my soul. We wandered, stopped to listen to musicians, shared a cookie and a taste of cheese, marveled at an enormous red parrot. I bought tomato seedlings – three cherry tomatoes: one yellow, one red, and one purple – and herbs and a mini bell pepper. Then we headed for home (with one more futile side trip to search for keys), potting the plants in the drizzle on our brand new front walk while we waited for Daddy to come home and unlock the house for us.
Lunch in our beautiful new house with Tabitha was pasta salad. (You parroted back Jacob’s confident announcement that you now like cucumbers.) Then Nicole came by, feeling weepy at Patrick’s departure too, and we all relaxed a few minutes. Nap time came for you and I took the opportunity to go home to run the load of baby clothes I’d treated for stains the night before. I found the spare van key to my great relief, and drove back to the new house. At least we could drive now…
I worked hard and rested a bit while you slept long on my bed and then you woke happy and we worked together. You enjoyed discovering all the tiny baby clothes as I folded, trying on all the bibs, even trying to stick your toes into the tiny baby shoes. You helped me move all our potted plants to the right spots, looking so big and strong and capable as you carried the small ones. Then you splashed in a giant mud puddle with your new denim shoes. I sent you for your rain boots and washed out your shoes around the time Daddy was unloading my bricks and finding the keys under the tarp where we’d prayed they’d be. You used your boots not to splash but to haul water from the puddle and pour it into the back of Jacob’s bike. And then, with yet another fresh pair of shoes, you and Jacob set off for a trip to Lowe’s with Daddy while I cleaned the kitchen, painted the bathroom, and put dinner on.
We ate another peaceful, beautiful, simple meal together at 7:00, enjoying the calm, slow family time, the abundance of light pouring in our windows even on a rainy evening. You devoured most of the asparagus – one of your favorite foods. And then it was bedtime in your new bed again, where you made no end of ruckus for over an hour, clearly too well rested from your all-too-unusual nap. Meanwhile Daddy finished plumbing and installing the bathroom and I finished cleaning, went to Target to shop for a shower curtain and other essentials, and made another stop at the old house for clothes and shampoos and such. Daddy & I finally fell into bed after midnight.
Baby girl, you are the life of the town. Everybody loves you so much and grins at your hilarious, amazing ways. You don’t think twice about getting down on the ground to hug caterpillars. It doesn’t seem weird to you when your older brother asks you for help with stuff he’s not as good at as you. This morning you reminded him of how to sommersault, which was when Daddy & I discovered that you know how to do that now. You are intensely articulate and so good at knowing exactly what you want. You frequently remark, unprompted, “Mom, I want to go to BUGS with you today.” (The gymnastics place where we romp on special occasions.) Recently you’ve been realizing what a victory it is to actually do what I say and so you’ll exclaim suddenly, “I obeyed!!” with a grin. Sometimes if you don’t you’ll get a little spank, and then there’s a look of surprise on your face because it really didn’t hurt (your tender heart doesn’t need much) and then you look at me or Daddy and interrupt our instructions to ask in grateful awe: “Was that a wittow (little) spank?” It disarms us completely and we have to laugh. You like to take Sunday afternoon naps with Daddy and you like to play with my ear when you’re feeling snuggly and affectionate. You have a truly awesome grumpy face. You are becoming quite the mother to your baby dolls. You like to violently wrestle Jacob in the grass and you are forever trying to be the winner at everything always. You have mastered buckling your own carseat. You have a deep and abiding love for that dog Mocha, and when he’s around he’s the most important thing in your world. You’ve recently discovered the joys of going for a walk in the “wittow teeny Merry stroller” (as opposed to the double jogger) and you ask for it regularly. You go crazy and throw things and bounce off the walls when you’re excited and you say the most thorough, complete things like “I want to have a bicycle for a present” or “I have a little pinch on my finger” or “Can I wear my booviful new Sunday dress from Target?”
This morning in church I tried to get you in the spirit as we sang “This is the feast of victory for our God! Alleluia!” You weren’t much interested – mostly wanting to put your head on my shoulder – but you were happy to be in my arms, and I realized then that I only have a couple more weeks left where my arms are primarily yours. You’ve been my baby for a long time and now it’s time for you to share that place of honor. I’m going to miss you a lot in these next couple months while my arms are full of your new brother. I know I will, because I missed your big brother when my arms became full of you. So I’m glad to think that your affection won’t flag and your confident, assertive, level-headed action to get what you want and what you need won’t flag either. It’s impossible to picture what that will look like right now, but I know it’ll be beautiful, because everything about you is beautiful. Or boooooviful, as you would say.
I love you.