Monday, December 8, 2008

Flying Lessons

"We'd like to have baby," read my sister's text message on Saturday morning. WHAT?!? Really? You're ditching the grad school plans after all and furnishing me with a niece or nephew? Giving my kids some wee cousins to dote on? Can I start shopping for slings? Can I cut the umbilical cord?

Wait a sec. WHY is she notifying me of this major life reversal via text?

Oh. She's responding to our conversation about having Caroline spend the night. Caroline is so firmly entrenched as "Baby" in the minds of her aunt and uncle that they'll probably be toasting her as such at her wedding rehearsal dinner.

So yes, Baby did have her very own sleepover with Uncle Allen and Aunt Kristen this weekend. She was reportedly the ideal guest, exclaiming "YIPPEE!" to everything they proposed, from pancakes for breakfast to going to the church meeting in the morning, and informing me of my sister's morning habits. "We snuggled in the bed and then we stretched like THIS and then we had little blue Altoids."

Meanwhile, her brother was enjoying our dinner guests, the Dixons and their three boys, and her sister was being carried away into a vortex of whirling girliness at the Girls' Night Out hosted by her dance studio. Pizza! Watching The Parent Trap! Making candy canes out of pipe cleaners! Playing some game called "Sally Walker!" Arriving home at 10:15 p.m. with fingernails painted alternately blue and pink! Can it get any better? Nope. For a five year old girl, folks, especially one who attends with her best friend, this is NIRVANA.

And I was so proud of my shy girl for deciding to go and for jumping into the fray when she arrived with nary a backward glance. And proud of my smaller girl for falling asleep without me and not skipping a beat when she woke up and found some one other than Mommy and Daddy in the bed.

It's funny, when you're with your kids all day, every day, surrounded by their often-intense needs and just sheer neediness. You feel like the gravity holding their personal universe together. Then they launch into the world for a few hours, taking practice flights under someone else's loving eye, and because you haven't figured out how to scale yourself down to the size of a fly and spy on them all night, you don't know every single thing they're saying and doing and feeling. You only know they're fluttering around with pieces of your own heart hidden under their wings. And because they know where the nest is and where and when they can return, you know they'll be just fine.

Besides, even gravity needs a break now and then. It ain't easy, holding a universe together.

1 comment:

tamvandijk said...

What a touching post. And so beautifully written. In the middle of trying to hold my 5-month old's universe together, reading this blog and looking ahead is just what I needed :)