One day last week, Mike came home from work and I managed to go in and out of the kitchen a few times without noticing the beautiful flowers he had brought home for me (he had to actually point them out to me, and commented that I wasn’t very observant). The next day I dyed my hair purple (technically it is “black plum” and it’s not PURPLE-purple, although it was definitely different than the light brown it has been for many months) and he didn’t notice for almost 24 hours, until we were standing under the very bright lights of a church gymnasium at his company’s kids’ Christmas party. Possibly we are both a little distracted lately.
I posted about this a bit on Facebook, but I feel like discussing it further here, because it is troubling me a little bit. Ellie is doing so great with school, enjoying it and really flourishing, but she’s also figured out how to lie (thankfully she is only 4 so she is really not very good at it yet) and how to talk back to her parents in a way I naively didn’t expect for a few more years. It’s a very strange feeling to go from having her at home with me, to sending her out into the world where she will be influenced by a whole host of people, most of whom I don’t know. She’s changing! And I would say “right before my very eyes” but I don’t even get to see it happen. Which is fine! It’s normal! It’s expected! But it’s hard.
I understand this is just her growing and learning and asserting her independence, but sometimes I wonder what happened to my polite, respectful little girl. I’m so bewildered by this that it’s almost as if I thought you could do a whole bunch of excellent parenting and then rest on your laurels for a while, enjoying the fruit of your labours. Only no, parenting requires CONSTANT VIGILANCE. But then, there are little flashes that we are doing something right, even if we’re not doing everything right — yesterday after school she gave her friend a hug and said, “I love you, Emma!” — and I wonder if the growing pains are mostly mine, not hers.
This morning while we were walking to school, Ellie said rather enthusiastically, “The snow is all melting! I think it’s SPRING!” And if you ask Zach what is all over his face, he will cheerfully respond every single time, “Chocolate cake!” even though I can’t remember the last time we had chocolate cake in the house. The children, they are optimists.