Monday, November 19, 2007


So I’ll tell you what Mary does not give a flying flip about, and that is my plans for bringing baked goods to a large festive gathering on Thanksgiving. She is also anti: dinner making, socks (on or off her feet), and being looked at, touched, or spoken to by her siblings. I checked her repeatedly for hangnails, contusions, or a fever – for any explanation as to why my toddler is as crotchety and demanding as old Ebenezer Scrooge. But nothing jumped out at me even as her foot stomping, naysaying, and fervent neck clinging threatened to pinch a few nerves and dampen my holiday spirit.

I tried scouring my memory for any recollections of how the other children acted at this age, but its foggy terrain- my early years as a mama, a blur of diaper changes, sleepless nights, and adjusted expectations. Around 3:00 this afternoon, I finally surrendered; cookbooks remained closed, phone calls went unanswered as I resisted with all my might the urge to multi-task, and looked my little daughter full in the face. And that’s all she really wanted I suppose, for when we rocked and sang and cuddled she flashed a smile that tore right through me. Mary melted into my arms like butter browning in a frying pan - it was golden, warm, and delicious.

“I can’t always stop you know,” I try and tell her like she gets it. “Sometimes mommy has to put you down. There are other people in this family who need me, the clothes won't wash themselves; sweet pea, you’ll just have to wait your turn.” And I know its true but if I’m honest with myself the time between these purposeful interactions needn’t be so far apart, what Mary’s begging for doesn’t really take that long. I am beyond thankful this year, as always, for our four sons and daughters who keep growing like weeds in the August sun. Maybe there are more opportunites, than I originally estimated, for slowing down, tuning out, and giving in.

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