I’m finding myself wanting to make a little habit of this week-ending gratitude thingy. So I’m here today to offer a few appreciationals about these four amazing ladies in my life.
Natalie and Echo were gone this week to Portland to visit with Natalie’s sister, Em, and their Mom, “Grammy”. So I was missing their individual and collective awesomeness, something fierce — and because we are normally together so much, it’s not something I’m used to feeling. It’s funny, too, the weird things you miss.
Like the sound of Echo reading Dick and Jane books. Or the way that feather in her hair has lasted so long, even grown down with the hair to which it is attached, and still looks so just-right with her aesthetic. I missed her fancy doo’s (like the side braid above), the smell of pool chlorine in her hair, the way she picks her outfits, the shape of her fingers and hands, the way she hugs me with aaallllll of her strength, the whisper of her “far-off” voice when she is rapt in the infinite depths of some epic fiction she is creating and developing and following in the pliable universe of our living room.
On the opposite end of the proverbial spectrum, because Natalie and Echo were gone, I got to spend some extra focussed time with Xi. It just happened to also come at a time when she’s been wanting/needing some Papa and Xi (alone) time, so we really made the most of it. After school one day we went to our favorite café, Xi had a bagel and I had a salad, and we read and talked and just hung out together, like old pals. We went out to get dinner, had a few epic wrestle sessions, read Harry Potter, I helped out at recess on Friday (something Natalie normally does), and we went out to the First Friday Art Walk in the driving (but not too frigid) blizzard of dinner-plate snowflakes that suddenly erupted and dumped 4-5 inches of snow on Missoula in just a few short hours. As the hours and various operations went on, I could see Xi’s spirit drinking up the singular attention (both giving hers and receiving mine), and I felt so glad for her to get a chance to get some “only-child” time in our home and with me.
It reminded me how much we all like to have those one-to-one moments — to feel the specialness of giving all of your attention to someone or to a common endeavor, and to feel the other person reciprocate and focus equally on/with you — especially in a parent-child relationship. It also reminded me of some of Xi’s individual lovelinesses: the way she semi-randomly flings “I love you”‘s at me, like verbal kisses; her grace and magnitude of presence; the golden rays of her sunny approach to other younger kids; the way she can invent a game that accommodates every available player and envelops everyone involved in a world-altering experience — and yet still suits her own present interests. Case in point, below, one play group at our house turned into a grand royal court, in which each lady and gentleman was dressed, made-up, and schooled in courtly propriety by Queen Xi. Here she is leading the whole procession.During one of our moments together this week, Xi and I were reminiscing about some past family adventures, and it turned the normal tender ache of missing Bella into full blown pining in both of us. In fact, I think this second year of having so much less time with Bella has proven to be pretty hard for all of us. We make pretty great use of skype, and just last month, we got an extra random weekend with her here (thanks to her mom’s generous efforts to share Bella with us), but still we all hanker for a hunk of time with her.
In the spirit of this post, though, I started turning all the sense of missing Bella into a celebration of some of the things I really love about her. She always brings such excitement and fun to our whole family, it’s like we go on Bella-cation when she’s here (and it’s been that way for a decade) — time slows, adventures become richer, joy turns up its volume to 11.
Another thing I love about my first born girl is the love she has for this tree. When she was here for that stolen weekend I mentioned above, and the leaves were falling in a downpour, and we all went outside to quickly rake up a mountain to play in, Bella took some private time to commune with her dear friend, here, Fred. She said she wanted to make sure to get some time with him since she was only here for a short stint. For her, he’s not just the living jungle gym that holds up the tire swing, he’s a true comrade of heart and soul.
Then, of course, there’s this other lady I know… She’s a meteor of brilliance. She brings light with her everywhere she goes. She inspires me in ways that make me better for the world. And sharing the beauty of this life with her is part of how I know it’s beautiful.I love that when we needed to rebuild our yard fence, she learned how and rebuilt it; and when we needed a chicken coop, she figured it out and made it; and when we needed a new gate for the chicken yard, she invented it, and put it together. But I also love that she will run and jump into my arms (piggy-front style) like she’s 5 years old; that she wants me to be the one to handle all things car-related; and that she brags about my ability to clean tough laundry stains. I love that she tells me the plot of nearly every book she reads, point for point (and that I always remember them better than she does); but I really love that she did the same thing with her sister when they were growing up.
I hope you’re all finding your own plain-sight treasures and enjoying them as well!