Did you know that? I’m madly, wildly, almost-too-much-to-bear in love with my little girl.
This morning my friend was (with the purest of intentions) talking to me about how the past couple of years of my life I’ve been really giving of myself to motherhood and the like, and that she looked forward to when I could really "do something for myself".
Earlier this morning, my little Vera took it upon herself to strip completely naked to eat her breakfast at the table. I watched her while she contentedly took large, wobbly spoonfuls of porridge and blueberries and stuffed them in her mouth. When she was finished she took it upon herself to take her bowl and spoon and toss them into the sink with a clank (I’ve never shown her how to do this) before she went about with her morning play. All day she’s been talking to me, telling me all sorts of things that I’ve yet to understand. This babble is delicious, and I just egg her on by saying things like "Oh, really?" "Tell me more!" and "Well, that’s one opinion on the matter…" We even left a message on Jeff’s phone where she said "Hello. I love you. Bye bye Papa!"
Lately she’s been saying "Vera did it!!" and "I like it!" (most recently about a sip of coffee she snuck… uh oh! A woman after my own heart!) It’s about a 50/50 chance that she’ll call me either Mama or "Gracie". She’s obsessed with reading Pinocchio, eating dried apple slices, peanut butter on a spoon, and kissing Maya. She loves her cousin Tuula like no one else in the world, and has taken to tickling people in the oddest places (usually something like "Tickle tickle mama EYES!!!"). Every time she sees me put on lip balm she gets giddy and then sits very very still while I apply a little to her lips. She is extremely physical, and often falls on her head with a bang. She loves her Papa like crazy, and they often are squealing through the house while I’m on the phone. Sometimes they just run in circles together saying "LA LA LA LA LA!" Jeff thinks this is hilarious. And her hair is getting so long. She spills off me when she nurses and sometimes I just grab one of her legs and say "Who is this big girl in my lap?!"
I see glimpses of her future. I see a strong woman. I see a force to be reckoned with. I see a generous person, someone who easily thinks of others. I see silliness. I see over-reaction. I see whining. I see us being wonderful friends. I see her looking at me with disdain. I see her being so wonderfully herself.
So, someday, when I am FINALLY able to do something for MYSELF for a change, I’ll probably just daydream about when I spent most of my days chasing a naked toddler through the house, listening to her babble, and basking in the wonderment of my life. I often sense from some people that they see motherhood as being sacrificial or some kind of obstruction to education and personal growth. I suppose it could be experienced that way, if you aren’t careful. So far, though, my experience has been that of exponential growth. Not to mention the daily experience of intense love and gratitude, the feeling of being stretched and challenged and inspired on a regular basis, and learning more about myself and the world every day. This job is not without my hair-pulling "I just need a ******* minute to myself!" kind of moments, but all in all I’d say there’s absolutely nowhere else I’d rather be than with my sweet little girl and this beautiful family of mine.
Today I’m staying grateful for the simpler things, for those are the things that really seem to sustain me.