Some one once said how they'd love to relive the first year of her son's life all over again with exactly the same baby. As her son neared the age of one, she longed for a baby but not a new baby, just to go back and repeat every moment with her first baby. I loved when she said this so much because that was exactly how I felt as I watched Eliza's babyhood evaporate in front of my eyes. I would go back in a heartbeat and relive every moment of it, everything, even the bad stuff because truth be told, there wasn't much of that.
Another friend once said that a child is a chance for our happy ending. I certainly see so much of that in myself. My singing and dance dreams I'm trying to make happen for Eliza, whether she wants them or not. I have to step back sometimes and remind myself that it's her life, not mine and that it's up to her to choose her own course.
One thing I've really accomplished with my children is creating a world of magic. It's certainly not magical all the time. Today, the girls spent much of the day together in the playroom with Eliza's iPad or running around with lalaloopsies while I wasted a little too much time scrolling down my iPhone and fiendishly erasing emails. But still, we've had a wonderful summer. Wonderful days at amusement parks, water parks, dinner at our local hibachi grill where we watch the chef light a "volcano" (tower of onions) on fire. I put together a little play starring a group of Eliza's friends and turned it into one of the best parties Eliza's ever had. I took the girls to Storybook Land and surprised them with a hotel in Atlantic City and dinner at the Rainforest Cafe, a place they loved so much in San Francisco.
I've loved reading children's books so much with Eliza because we can open a book and enter into another world with a bake shop ghost, a sandcastle that turns into a real castle, a bed that flies over the hills of Tuscany. Reading those books with Eliza made me feel reborn into a world where anything was possible. That's childhood. The days are long but your imagination is the world. YOur body is quick and free and full of energy.
When C and I split up, I had no plan. I looked at the apartment we've happily lived in since 2009 and liked it so I took it. The landlady mentioned turning the den type room off the kitchen into a playroom and I took that idea and went with it. Painting a bright splashy pink that Eliza picked out that looks kind of like a bottle of Mr. Bubble, I'll never forget how happy Eliza was the first time afternoon she spent in there. We didn't have much furniture other then our beds and her plastic red table and chairs from Ikea but I'll never forget cooking our first dinner (pasta primavera) while Eliza sat on that red table and colored, humming happily. I stood over that stove listening to how happy she sounded and felt so relieved and powerful that I had been able to do this, get out of a bad relationship and give her another home that would make her happy. I don't remember where Elena was at this moment because she wasn't sleeping in a crib yet. Maybe she was asleep in the car seat on the floor somewhere or in the bassinet in my bedroom, but I'll never, ever forget standing over the stove as the fresh tomatoes cooked, listening to her hum in her happy little pink playroom, feeling like I was the best mom in the world.
Best mom, no, but I type this seated on the couch surrounded by Elena's little happy light up wands. That's all it takes to make her four year old body happy, light up wands. When they're happy, I feel so supremely content, like I've just scaled Mount Everest and found it to be easier then I thought. Elena is already four and Eliza is about to enter third grade--this world of magic is about to disappear and my ability to keep them as happy as they are will go away. But for now, the world is magic, just the spin of a music box at bedtime, a chocolate cake baked on a rainy day, these things are all they need to feel joy. Oh how I wish it could be this way forever.