Thursday, April 17, 2008

The end of the day

seven p.m., originally uploaded by toyfoto.

Dear Annabel,

The light is strange here at the end of these early spring days. It has the yellow-y orange crispness of autumn but it shines down warm upon the reawakening green. Just the glow of it around you makes you seem years younger, even at the tender age of four.

And seeing you in that light made me think about how ambivalent I feel about time marching on. You are still my baby, and yet when I call you that now it's only accusingly so.

"Stop being a baby! You are a big girl and you need to act like one."

Mainly it's the end-of-the-day frustrations that we all have. After working all day (for you the job of play is work) our tolerance level is low. Everything we do is focused on getting you into bed and asleep.

It's a tight ship we're trying to run, especially with all of us tired and cranky: Chicken or pork; popsicle or ice cream; movie or games; shower, tooth brushing, three books and "Goodnight."

It never goes that smoothly. Every path has resistance. There's always loud voices yelling "I'm not going to tell you again."

All so we can get up early the next morning and have even less time to get dressed and fed and packed and ready to go.

The strangest part of this isn't my failure as a parent but your success as a child. You don't hesitate to tell me you love me even after I've threatened to sell your toys and rent out your room to someone who will actually SLEEP there. You still draw pictures for me even after you saw some of them in the recycling bin. You always want to be with me even when I've told you I don't want to be with the YOU that is tired and whiney and in need of rest. "Mommy is off the clock."

When the truth is Mommy is never off the clock. Being a mom isn't a job. It's not that souless. I erroneously thought that motherhood was really the shaping of young lives based on the successful completion healthful dinners and consistency in manners.

But it really seems as if you children raise yourselves. We adults just try to keep you away from sharp knives and steep staircases until you can get the hang of them. I'm beginning to think that Motherhood is something only YOUR childhood can teach me.

I hope I'm as good a student as you are, sweet pea. Because I'd like to be better.




jessica said...

magic. the photo and the words.

Andrea said...

sweet. I should read this to my son. I could totally substitute these situations with my name.