So it's hard for me to keep in the swing of things, and that is never more evident than the night before school goes back in -- I become incredibly productive, near giddy at the thought of having my days regimented back into other people's schedules. I know by the end of the week I will again resent it, but alongside the free-flowing days and nights of our school breaks the routine is what is better for me, for my sanity in the long run.
She pats the pillow next to her damp head emphatically, something she rarely does, so I acquiesce and try to fold myself around her into the toddler-sized bed. She asks for blankets and I don't even try to mess with covering both of us with them because that, that crosses my ridiculousness threshold. She lays down on her back and sighs contentedly, patting her belly a few times before raising her still barely-chubby arms up into the air and waiving them poetically along with the classical music coming from her radio, conducting an invisible orchestra with the budding grace and elegance of a prima ballerina.
She stops suddenly and asks me if I see the sky while she gestures wide toward the ceiling and the single-bulb chandelier that hangs over her tiny bed, providing the only light in the room. I repeat her words, Do I see the sky, Tova? and she breathlessly asks me if I see the stars, do I see the sky, do I see the stars.
Yes, sweet girl, I see the stars.
I try to breathe in this moment, to relish this quiet time with her that I've so been missing with the boys home, in this new time and space with her, listening to her tell me what's on her mind, even if I can only understand every other phrase or so. She rolls towards me, smiling, and begins to gently stroke my cheek while whispering sleep, sleep and I tell her that yes, we need to go to sleep because we have a big day tomorrow, just the two of us since Daddy and Keesee will be back at school so we need our rest, lots of things to do.
I don't understand how she became so gentle and loving, so incredibly sweet, but I'm so grateful she is.
We lie there a while longer, the instrumental music from the CD I started playing softly songs she doesn't yet know have words that I know every syllable of, that I have spent so much of my time and money and brainpower to sear upon my soul, to remember what I felt and who I was when I first heard them. It is beyond peaceful and next to her not-quite-as-tiny body breathing softly, it is hard not to let go and sleep there with her. But I can't, because we're breaking her of her binky and we're making the concerted effort to not just replace that with another comfort item or routine, and I know sleeping in a toddler bed every night will quickly break my back.
As her breathing slows further, I whisper to her that I have to go, I have work to do, and she whispers back goo-niigh, wuv woo and I don't know how it's possible for your heart to break and be so full at the same time, but there it is, wrapped up in a redheaded toddler's floral sheets and handmade blankets.
I turn off the chandelier as I leave and she sighs deeply, contentedly I'd like to hope, and I am equal parts relieved that I got away so easily and crushed that I had to leave at all. I console myself knowing that in a matter of minutes, maybe an hour from now, she will be yelling for wahdur (as is also a new habit post-bink but one I have a hard time begrudging) and even as I type this I can hear her saying Oh hi, how're you! enthusiastically to her stuffed animals and thumping on something and it's Kyle's turn to tell her to go to bed and to remind Kiedis to keep his pj's on and that he has school in the morning so we all need to go to bed, and that the sweetness really only lasts in those precious moments, and that tears and screams are more likely at this hour than anything else.
But if I could freeze time, this bedtime would be one I'd save for my last breaths, to relive one more sweet time before doing her bidding and falling asleep to the touch of her soft baby hands on my cheek one last time.
This blog is five years old this month.
It is older than my children, my marriage, the majority of my cats, and my time spent in this home. Its creation was a whim, after deleting my college-life blog for good and realizing that I still wanted a place to talk about the words that bounced around my head, to say the things I couldn't in real life for one reason or another. From the irreverent to the deeply personal, this space has been my refuge (for the most part) for the latter half of my mid-to-late twenties, sometimes better utilized than others.
I don't know where the future of this space is going, though I think I have some ideas. The relationships I've formed due to my digital rambling have been intrinsic to my survival in the analog world, and even though I may not be here quite as visibly I am always around, always grateful for the things this space has afforded me in friendships and communities and even lessons in tolerance and forgiveness.
It is my hope, in this my fifth year of blogging at Tabulous (and my ... lord, tenth, eleventh? in all time?) to focus more on my writing and my stories and how they might best be shared and of service to the world outside of my brain. It is my hope to become more dependable, but you also know how I get about feeling trapped in routines so don't hold your breath for every day or anything, ha. I hope to be able to balance my "real" life with my "online" one and to be myself as much as I(you?) can stand which means pretty much to expect the unexpected and even then there's room for disappointment but also surprise, right?
It is also my hope to write about the things that I have been too afraid to share until now.
It is my hope to begin my book, the one I've been writing in my head for nearly three years now, or even longer if you just want to count my whole life for the asides.
And it is my hope that you will come along for the ride with me.