When you’re not around

May 29, 2011 § Leave a comment

Every morning around 9, I drop Lena off at daycare, go to work, and return around 5:30 to pick her up and take her home.

Do you know what happens between 9 and 5:30 each weekday? Nothing, right? Lena’s just at a glorified babysitter’s, right?

I’m thinking of Beth Ann Fennelly‘s poem, “First Day at Daycare”, and epigram that says, “My daughter comes home smelling like / another woman’s perfume”

This morning, Lena and I went for a walk on the greenway behind our house, and Lena stopped to look at a dead cicada on the ground. She stopped me to say, “Ooh, Mommy, look at this.”
“Yeah,” I say, “That’s a cicada,” thinking that I am imparting some great knowledge onto my daughter.
“Mr. John told us about cicadas last week,” Lena says, so matter-a-factly it just tugs at my heart.
“Really?” I say. “Did he talk about the music they make?” Mr. John is the music teacher. That much I know!
“Yes,” Lena responds again. “They go buzzzzzzzzzzzz.”
That they do, small one, that they do.

I started to explain the life cycle, because goddammit I can teach my kid something too, but she was already on to the next fallen twig from a tree, twenty feet ahead of me.

L is growing up. Overnight, it seems. Every morning is a new unexpected emotion, or phrase. I pick her up from school and she is a fountain of what she did that day, or what her friend’s did. She’s this catalog of who is sick, who is on vacation, who’s parent picked them up or dropped them off that day.

And I’m just me. About twenty paces behind this whirlwind of a kid at any given time. Sometimes she lets me catch up. I get glimpses of who she is becoming and where she’ll go. And then she’s off again. And I couldn’t be more thankful for every moment I spend with this kid.


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