My big girl…

We took a Mommy-Daughter day yesterday, just Maddie and I.  We had an appointment to visit the school that we live two blocks from… the school that I fell in love with when we bought our house, the school that Maddie doesn’t go to because she comes to school 40 minutes away where I teach.  Recently, Rob got a new position as the Director of our local library.  He now walks to work.  He now has ties to our community.  Conversely, I think I’ve attended a community function in our town maybe twice in seven years.  Maddie has practically no friends in our town.  As much as I love having her with me, as much as I love my school, it’s not ideal for HER. I see kids playing together in our neighborhood, and I’ve seen her wistfully watching them, too.  It’s time for something to change.

We spent the day meandering.  First, we went to Michaels.  We walked through the automatic door and I immediately caught a glimmer of myself shine through in her face, like a mirror reflection… “LET’S DO ALL THE THINGS!!!”  It’s hard for me to not tear open packages and bathe myself in all things crafty in that store.  I get easily overwhelmed… I want to do it all, RIGHT NOW, but I don’t know how to do it all, and I get frustrated, and so I leave with nothing.  Not Maddie.  After the initial joy and overwhelm, she settled on the perfect little project, and found herself the supplies she needed in an organized fashion.  She did this even with ME distracting HER… “LOOK, Maddie… Sparkly paint!!!  And it’s puffy!  Wow!  You can decorate a backpack with it!  Oooooo…. Look! Beads!!!!”

After the art store, we went to lunch at Juice and Java, a local restaurant a few blocks from our house.  I’ve never been there before.  We had a delicious lunch… Maddie ordered a peanut butter sandwich (a delicacy when your brother’s allergic) and we sat outside in the sunshine.  I pondered the bustle around me, less than a mile from my home, but completely foreign to me at noon on a Wednesday.  It’s not that I purposely avoid my community. It’s that up until now, It hasn’t really felt like mine.  With Rob and I both working almost an hour away, and our kids going to school/daycare there, it almost felt like we just came home to sleep.  With Rob’s new job though, it feels like maybe we’ve dropped an anchor.

We walked to the school, arm in arm.  “I’m nervous, Momma.” I gave her a squeeze.  “Everything new is a little scary at first, baby.”  We walked in, and instantly I knew.  She was home.  I felt my heart swell and break as I watched her exploring.  She would make friends…play sports…have play dates.  She would come out from under my wing.  Experience something completely removed from me.  I felt myself tearing up… thrilled for her, but sad for me.  What will I do without my little sunshine girl following in my footsteps every day?

We finished our tour of the school and made our way to the waterfall just outside our town.  We hiked down to the moss covered boulders and I watched as she splashed in the tiny pools and squished the mud through her toes.  So much joy in this perfectly simple day.  So much joy in being home.

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