Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Every Little Thing She Does

On school days, part of me fractures off and lingers in the building with my girls - so desperate to know what they are doing with their seconds and minutes and hours - while the rest of me tries to be productive. My thoughts never stray very far from their bodies as I wander from task to task. I focus on the clock, waiting until it gives me permission to retrieve my fractured self - to pick up my babies and gather them back into my presence.

I hurry to Mia's classroom, anxious to see my biggest girl before going back to get her little sister. I am early. The clock was being too stingy with it's permission on this day, and I am jumpy. Ready to have my world set right again.

Bursting through the stairwell door, I slow down on my way to her classroom; I want to see her first. I want to catch a glimpse of her before she knows I have returned. It feels like I'm watching something forbidden, something that is not meant to be mine. This time she has with teachers and friends is outside my locus of knowledge, and to experience it without her being aware of my presence is like magic. She becomes someone I am intrigued by. Someone I long to discover more about. This should be my desire on a daily basis - I know - but it's too easy to lose track of her uniqueness when I am in the middle of it every hour of every day.

She's finishing up her lunch - the last one at the table. So true, I think. But to see it away from our own kitchen table is endearing. She meticulously sorts her trash and gathers it into a neat ball - wadding it up until it's as small as it can possibly be. That's my Mia, I smile. But to see this habit of hers played out in a place where I've never sat with her for a meal is touching.

It takes being set apart from her to remind me of the wonder contained within her.

Walking to the trash can, she spots my face craning around the door, and fumbles her handfuls of wrappers and napkins from surprise. She looks back at her teacher with a conspiratorial grin on her face. Is this allowed? I can see the gears turning behind her eyes, realizing that school isn't over yet, but mommy is here anyway. Then, her chin lowers as she understands the unhappy meaning of my early arrival: there is no more time to play. She darts to the nearest corner and hides herself in it, looking at her shoes - still gripping the trash.

By now, the teacher has noticed our little non-interaction. "Mia," she says, " what are you doing over there? Let's tell your mom about what we did today." At this, Mia's face brightens and she runs to me as I enter fully into the classroom. She becomes shy with her teacher - this wonderfully engaging teacher whom I know Mia adores. I'm back in her favor; for reasons unknown to me, Mia's become OK with the fact that she has to leave school early. We talk with her teacher and I have to remind Mia to use big-girl talk instead of the baby talk she's adopted since I walked in the room.

She's the daughter I've known from birth again. The magic retreats into the classroom as we leave it.

But not really. All I have to do is look at her from outside my limited locus when I become bogged down in taking care, and she becomes the magical person I dart up stairwells and peek around corners to find.

All I have to do is remember the magic of my daughter.

11 comments:

  1. Seriously? I just LOVE this post. Beautiful.

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  2. So beautiful. It's important for us to find magic in our children. It's easy when they are amazing little infants, but tougher when they start telling you "no." So glad you took a step back and looked at her from a distance today.

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  3. This is beautiful really, it is. And that's why I just gave you a blog award...

    But you have to come to my site to get it, because I can't figure out how to get the image to post here (sorry0.

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  4. Well said! As moms, I think it's important for us to miss our children from time to time. That way we can come back to them, eager, and see them again with fresh eyes. Beautiful post!

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  5. What a beautiful post!! It kills me not knowing what the kids are up to at school...

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  6. So sweet & so true! I am always wondering what my girls are up to at school...and seeing their little faces light up when I come get them :).

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  7. So beautiful. I'm dreading next year when Kenna starts Kindergarten. What will I do without her all day? And more importantly, how is it possible that my sweet baby, who has been with me every single day of her life, will be able to function and do things without me ALL DAY?! It's just crazy to think about.

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  8. I love your quiet observation of your daughter - such a loving mom!

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  9. This should be my desire on a daily basis - I know - but it's too easy to lose track of her uniqueness when I am in the middle of it every hour of every day.

    You've nailed it. I often wonder if I would experience my children more fully if we weren't homeschooling. If I had a moment to miss them and rejoice at being reunited. I just wonder..

    Thank you for a beautiful post.

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  10. How sweet, I don't often read about parents anticipating the end of a school day!

    Your Mia is absolutely stunning. The picture in your header and the expression and those eyes!

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Hmm...And how did that make you FEEL?