My daughter ate her dinner in silence tonight, nearly dozing off between every bite. After a busy mama-baby girl date day, we were both tired. But she ran, ran, ran today and not into her bed mid-day for anything resembling a nap. When I turned off the pre-dinner iPad session that I resorted to in order to make it for the long haul, she collapsed in blubbering tears that said nothing more than, "I'm too exhausted to be responsible for myself right now. Please, just let me cry it out." She learned that from me.
I was really grateful she ate her dinner at all. But she did, then asked to get down and fueled by her dinner, was overcome with a powerful second wind.
My dad, mom and I settled into the living room around the Christmas tree to host tonight's episode of The World's Cutest Human Show, which always includes a myriad of comedic and dramatic moments that are not to be missed.
But tonight's edition just melted my heart straight out of my chest.
See, every morning in the trailer (even if he's sleepy from staying up way past his bedtime in the Commonwealth — if you know, you know), My Love gets up and makes coffee for him and I. He brings mine to me in bed, and our little clone either snuggles with me and watches him perform this routine, or begs for her own morning treats (namely, cottage cheese, a cheese stick, yogurt, applesauce or oatmeal — or all of the above). In fact, sometimes he gets caught there serving up her first, second and third breakfasts like a line cook before he gets to sip his own coffee in bed.
If she stays in bed with me to snuggle while he grinds and pours, she'll often ask, "Mama, want a coffee?" And when I reply that I do, she'll say, "Papa get you coffee."
So tonight, I was sitting on the couch when I noticed my daughter carefully making her way across the living room from her faux-kitchen to me. She had a cup and a saucer in each hand, one of which she handed to me and the other of which she'd made for herself.
As I pretended to sip and praised the "coffee" she made me, she ran back to her kitchen and grabbed her little teapot, returning to my side and relocating her own cup and saucer adjacent to mine. "Here mama," she said every time I would "drink" the cup, "You want a little more coffee?"
I died inside, out of pride, amazement and a twinge of sadness. I was so fascinated that she'd not only observed this ritual of ours to the point of mimicking it, but that she did so with as much significance as it has to he and I each morning.
She was taking care of me like she watches her Papa do, but she was also filling that void and sharing a moment with me that she knew was special. It was so very precious and made me realize that part of this break is also to bond with her in a new way. I spend all day with her, and have since she was born, but she's not a baby anymore. A lot of our present time together is spent with me saying, "Sure I'll play with you, right after I finish this!"
And the minutes tick by and so she prefers to play with Papa. I also end up, when we're all together, begging Papa for free time to blog when we aren't adventuring together as a family, and always obliges with epic father daughter outings. So in truth, she and I don't spend much one-on-one time anymore like we did in the first two years of her life. Which all boils down to the fact that Mama needs to get her play groove back, and today was such a fun example of why.
We spent the late morning at the library, reading, doing puzzles and playing with toys, then had a lunch date at a local throwback diner. We finished it all off with a long, limitless, carefree play on the playground (no "FIVE MORE MINUTES! We need to _<fill in the blank>_" today). Since no nap was in sight, I let her ride the late afternoon hours on the Frozen wave, snuggled in bed together. As I tucked her in tonight, I was flooded with gratitude and the realization that many more today's are needed.
After she told me before bed last night that "Papa went to get the soup-case (suitcase), he'll be right back! Don't worry mama!" I realize that she gets all of this more than I think she does, and yet doesn't get it at all. And so we're talking about it, as you can with a two year old, as much as possible. Just keeping Papa in conversation, recording videos and sending them to him. Watching videos that he's sent to her. It seems to be helping us both.
See? Isn't it better that I can share this sweet story honestly and openly? And because we all know what's going on here, it makes sense and has context, and you know why a seemingly simple moment is not so simple and oh so beautiful.
That's what it's about right now. Experiencing and sharing very small moments that mean something big, and why.