For the past three nights, Addie and I have piled in my bed to watch old Disney cartoons with a tray of milk and cookies set out in front of us. Last night she only ate half a cookie because she deemed them “TOO BIG!” so I finished off mine and the other half of hers as well.
I am on vacation after all.
Once her teeth were brushed and prayers were said, I tucked her in with a kiss and and a squeeze. Before I had even finished brushing my own teeth I could hear her little snores from the other side of the room.
This child of mine, I am so in love with every inch of her. Her inability to mask any emotion, her perfect curls, her sprinkle of freckles and the wonder that is so very much alive in her.
Yesterday was another one of those days that will go down as one of the best in our entire lives. I witnessed her branch out and try new and scary things, like swim in the open ocean and dance alone in a giant crowd of people. There have been times when she has wanted to be alone, and I let her. But she always comes back, slides her little hand in mine and says “I love you mama.”
I once heard that “Life should be a series of daring adventures launched from a secure base.” When I see her break away from me and try something new, I realize that my time as her most favorite person is limited. I take comfort knowing she has the confidence to be out on her own, but chooses to come back with me when she needs to feel safe and secure.
As I learn more and more about the person she is becoming, I am learning to let her lead more often. That our relationship is less about me making little decisions for her, but rather me supporting the everyday choices she makes for herself. Only once have I forced her into something, and that something was the Caribbean Sea to pet a stingray, the experience ended with a chokehold of terror around my throat, but I don’t regret pushing her one little bit.
In the last three days she has hunted for fairies, dressed up as a pirate, waved at princesses, marched with toy soldiers, hugged Santa, swam with stingrays, saw fireworks, met an alien, won a gameshow, danced under the stars, and for a few moments forgot that reality even existed, completely immersed in magic.
It’s easy to forget there’s snowstorms and cold weather when you’re swimming in 82 degree water under a 90 degree sun with one of your most treasured people in the world. My heart and brain are stronger than they have ever been recently, and these past few days of enchantment have shored them up and strengthened them forever, for this there will never be enough words of gratitude.