It's been a challenging summer and I haven't written because it's hard to make the time and I seem to have lost most of the readers who followed me here from my old Club Mom blog. But part of the reason for this blog is to remember all the wonderful times I've had with my girls so I'm making the time now.
After a particularly stressful two weeks, I had a lovely date with my Eliza two nights ago. My mom graciously agreed to babysit my little one so I could take Eliza to the boardwalk for rides and fireworks. Our relationship is different now and while I mourn the passing of what we used to be, I am enjoying all the wonderful things she has become. Last summer, when we were on rides together, she was the happiest kid in the world. When I looked at her the other night, I saw some reserve in her face. She is almost four but already she is forming her own mystery. This happens as a child grows and starts to form her identity. Suddenly the parent doesn't know everything about him and her.
We've been battling lice the past two weeks and it's been so stressful. In order to keep her lice free and to prevent it spreading if it's still not gone (I still find a pesky nit or two per day), I had her hair pulled back in a tight bun. She looked so beautiful to me, like a ballerina in training. The rides she chose made me nauseous but I grinned at her as we swerved around and she smiled back, then looked away sweetly. The stress of the lice, plus my working a lot past this summer, plus having a younger sister, plus missing her father--she has grown up a lot in the past year. I've leaned on her and expected so much, probably too much from her that she had to. Her face is so different with all her hair pulled back like that. She really looked so much like a little lady.
Shortly before the fireworks, I dragged her into the bathroom. We took stalls next to each other and I heard a woman outside telling her daughter to wait while she used the toilet. The girl came out of the toilet as Eliza and I entered and I thought this woman's method was probably a safer option, to wait while Eliza used the toilet and then to go in myself, having her wait right outside my door.
Feeling a bit disconnected from Eliza, I peeked under the stall to look at her feet. Her tiny, perfect little feet in their blue flip-flops with yellow and white daisies perched several inches from the floor. Somehow those little feet dangling above the floor charmed me, filled me with so much love that I wanted to reach over and grab her ankle as if somehow, with this gesture, I could stop time and keep her my little girl forever. Just from the ease of her feet, I could picture her happy little face. She was having a nice night and after the two weeks of combing out her hair and my descent into shrewville from the strain was washed away.
We were in a gift shop when the fireworks started, waiting in line to pay for four small plastic shells you can use to make necklaces. Eliza started to cry, not wanting to miss the fireworks. I assured her we'd come back for the shells later and she ran out onto the boardwalk, into the crowd. I had to struggle to keep up with her--I am not a runner in flip flops.
"Come on, Mom," she said as she looked back with out stopping. On the beach was a small stage several people sat on to watch the show and Eliza ran towards it. I was about to help her climb up when she hoisted herself up with no assistance in record time. I struggled to keep up. She sat down, I sat beside her and then she jumped onto my lap. But she didn't stay for long, instead standing to dance with the fireworks against the night sky.
I kept the radio down on the car ride home, expecting her to fall asleep. But she didn't, instead she looked at her shells and her mermaid doll on the way home and asked if I could return the mermaid's hair into a bun when we got home because she's broken the elastic.
I might be taking a job that will separate me from my girls for six weeks. I've managed to eke out a living by day playing but I'm dangerously close to losing my health insurance so I need this job and that's that. It will be difficult for my parents to fill in and I'm not sure how well it will work out but if this is what I have to do, then we all have no choice. I've been gone for two weeks--this is only four more weeks than that. But looking at the girls while they ate their grilled cheese sandwiches last night, I wanted to cry, wondering what it will do to them to have me gone for that long. I'll see them on weekends and might be able to see them for an hour or two during the week but still, I'm the mother and the father here, how do I do that to them?