(The girls playing fairies ^^)
The past couple of nights I have taken the older girls on Mommy-Daughter dates. These include quality time, but boiled down, they are blocks of time wherein I spoil them. Now this goes against my attitude that time spent is better than money spent. But if we're doing both? And if it's at Target? Fine by me.
So I take them out and we pick out a few new things for the upcoming school year.
Grace, on her night, had a billion things going on in her head. Each step, each direction, each word she says is calculated and controlled. She patronizes me and my suggestions and politely declines the things she doesn't want or care about. She's in the dressing room, and pulls on a cute new red shirt. She stands in front of the mirror then, tall, her black shiny hair falling over her shoulders and framing her face. She turns back and forth, back and forth, and smiles her smile.
I feel that tightness in my throat, the same thing I felt the day of her birth as I held her in my 23-year-old arms. How could I love a child so much? And how is she nine now, each day and each year stepping more of her feet into this big world?
She and I have a banter when we are out together alone. We laugh so often, when all the stress of the day melts and it's just her and I, and she is truly one of my best friends. She supports and comforts me every day without me trying or asking her to.
Last night was Ruby's turn. She and I have talked in length about the oceans. No matter how fast the earth spins, or the fact that our planet is round, its water stays strongly attached. "Why does it not barrel full speed into the emptiness of space?", we ask each other. She recently told me that I'm earth and she's the ocean and there's no way that she could ever leave me. I looked into her eyes then, and couldn't look away.
Ruby's IS whimsy and it shows in a store like Target. There is no fixation, no plan. Her mind wanders and I can talk her in and out of things so easily. We decide on some bright-colored jeans. She walks back and forth in the dressing room, her hands flat to her hips and her hair stretching almost to her waist. She pokes out her tummy and twists back and forth as she admires her new pants. Yes, she says. Let's get them.
She and I have our own language and we speak it almost the entire night. There is neck tickling after almost every sentence she says. I can't help myself. She's the baby that will forever and ever be a baby to me. We park on our street, exhausted. What a grand time we've had. I walk toward our little house and breathe in the night sky and feel the weight of motherhood upon me. That feeling of responsibility for these little hearts and minds, it's staggering.
Grace and Ruby are in that stage where they are an absolute joy. They are helpful and talkative and enjoy life so much. They are still home with me every day and they don't look too far outside our little world. I savor this time as if it will end tomorrow, because I know that's what this time will feel like. Like yesterday.