In the thick of it

July 1, 2010 § Leave a comment

Alex has been gone the past month or so. I’m leaving in 10 days to go meet him, and we’re travelling to Stockholm and Copenhagen together, and then heading down to the south of France to hang out with the family for 2 weeks. Can you say Great European Vacation? Or “holiday” because Alex has somehow turned completely European in his time in Scotland.

I’ve been trying to find reasons to be angry at Alex overseas, but there aren’t really that many, so I have to settle on being happy when I get to video chat with him, and missing him the rest of the time.

Video chats. I don’t even have to tell Lena, but she knows that when we come home and I troop up to my room, she inevitably follows, excited to climb on the bed and say “Hello Al-ex” and offer him various accoutrement, her pacifier, her hairclip, her bear. Then she flops down on top of me and requests tickles, and if Alex and I try to talk about something, or Alex turns his head, or makes any sort of sudden movement Lena will yell out “ALEX WHAT ARE YOU DOING.”

So for some reason or another I decided to give Alex my angry face while talking, and Alex says, “Not to change the subject or anything, but Lena has changed so much in the short time I’ve been gone.”

Because you don’t really see it, being with her every day. If there’s a pause long enough for me to muddle through the general to-do list of the day, and my brain gets space enough to just process, I do find myself thinking to myself, where did all these complete sentences from? She doesn’t talk in choppy little commands anymore. She knows what everyone is doing around the house, she knows when things are out of place. She knows routines and remembers events. She has this amazing concept of past present and future.

I can’t even convey to you that Lena is funny. She just finds humor in things. She rhymes now, Popsy-wopsy and Nana-banana. She’s more adventurous in the bath, holding my hands and leaning her head back in the water, and she laughs in the way that makes you remember that too, you know? Like putting your head back in water that first time, and feeling (I really want to use the word ‘percolate’ for some reason) the water just surrounding you, and your hair fans out around you. Lena hides, then matter-of-factly answers when you ask where she is.

Alex said, albeit slightly toasted, “I used to tell people that I have this great girlfriend who has this great two-and-a-half year old at home, and now I tell them that I have this great girlfriend who has a two-and-a-half year old who is brilliant.”

Lena shines. She is so full of life and wonder. And she knows. She brings tears to my eyes, and pulls my face towards hers and says with such honest inquisition, “Mommy, you are happy?”

I mean, I thought she was cool like a couple of months ago. I really had no idea. Which is cool, right? Like I’m cherishing the moments and all, but Lena growing up is the coolest thing on the planet. She moved up a room in day care too. (Another entry for another day, my friend Charlie was right, Lena’s day care is incredible diverse, comparatively.) And today I had to bring a bathing suit and a towel, because she gets to play in the water.

My kid is growing up, she’s loving every minute of it, and she knows how to tell you.

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