I am trying to be anything but involved with her as she marches back and forth from the bookshelves to the couch. It's naptime, see, or what should be naptime, but isn't because Lauren no longer naps in the middle of the day. Landon, though, is sleeping, so we claim the hour for 'quiet' and 'rest'. That is, I claim it; she refutes it.
She catches my eye as I glance up from my own book. She has the sweetest smile today. Just a hint of a plan is forming, I can see it. I bury my nose, releasing a hint to flap its way across the room: Mama's resting. Do not disturb.
The winged hint fails. Roosts. I now have a couch-partner, and she's grabbing my free hand, but I keep my eyes on the page before me. Resolute. I will have this moment to myself. But her palm is contracting, squeezing against my own. Once. Twice. Three times. I glance at her and she's having trouble containing her joy. It pulls on the corners of her lips and presses against her eyelids, and before I know it I'm smiling, too, and she's laughing, and I'm squeezing her hand in return. I. Love. You.
She's pulled me out of rest and into love. And it's more restful in that moment than my book would have been in any case.
It's like this with Lauren. She reminds me about life. She fills empty spaces with idyllic light, throwing extraneous affairs into smudgy shadows; they don't matter as much as feeling the sweetness of the world matters.
Maybe it's something middle-child-ish. I have a completely different relationship with Lauren than I do (so far) with Mia or Landon. Mia is my first -- I make most of my mistakes on her; I butt heads with her; I anticipate milestones and accomplishments of hers. Landon is the baby -- I snuggle him, mostly, and dream about the scent of his skin, and exhaust myself chasing after him. But Lauren...she is like a burst of freedom sandwiched snugly in-between.
It's not easy freedom. She kind of forces the freedom, like rose-colored blackmail. I cannot resist those big blue eyes or the flower petal mouth. She requires butterfly kisses and painted fingernails and hold-you hugs. She enforces (so softly) extra stories and extra painting and extra tickling. She demands conversation and attention...but not too much attention.
She's so aware of it -- who's watching her and how they interpret her. She doesn't want to stand out or be noticed, but when she lets her guard down, she explodes with grandiosity. She runs with limbs flying and mouth wide open to catch the perfection in the air. I imagine her ingesting it -- the world -- like a frosted cupcake, sprinkles first, because the dang thing is just so sweet.
On the couch, we're giggling in whispers, and her teeth clench with each squeeze of my hand. She doesn't stop at three squeezes, this time. She keeps going, hiccuping with suppressed glee, squeezing into infinity. And when she's done, she asks:
"Mama, did you feel that?! I was pushing all of my love into you!"
I felt it, babydoll. I absolutely did. It filled me with gratitude.
Which is pretty much just thanksgiving covered in sprinkles.
We're gathering our
harvest of blessings and naming them one by one, sharing the gratitude in our
hearts every Thursday through the end of November. Won't you join us today at Corinne's place? Share a picture, words, creation, or list;
just come to the table with thanksgiving in your heart.