I don't know about you but it seemed like every time I turned around the past few weeks, another tragedy was occurring around the world or minutes from my doorstep.
When the world gets to be too much, I want to return to the summers of my childhood, those carefree days when my only responsibility was to have fun and avoid a sunburn.
IIIWe're walking home and we pass a family with a toddler. He's holding a glittery blue gift bag, and when he sees Zoe, he makes a beeline for her, his face lit up by a big smile. As if she's been electrocuted, Zoe jumps out of his way and then dashes past him. My eyes meet the boy's parents' eyes and we share a laugh. When I catch up to Zoe I say, "I guess he was too young for you." She growls at me.
III'm able to pick her up early one day and she wants ice cream. I'm about to say what I always do, "You can't have ice cream or you'll ruin your appetite for dinner." But instead, I say, Sure. She decides on pistachio. In the spirit of rule-breaking---what dinner? what diet?---I get a spumoni ice. Naturally, she wants some of mine too. So we sit in the ice cream parlor licking our cones, exchanging them every couple of licks.
III"What was the scariest part of the movie?" I ask her.
"When the snake came out of the screen and stuck its tongue out."
"Yeah, that was pretty good."
"I can't wait to tell Daddy."
IVI make the mistake of not washing her hair after her day at the beach. She comes into our bed around 5:30 a.m. the next morning to sleep with us, and when we finally get up an hour later, there's sand on my pillow.
VThe pool that the camp uses doesn't allow children to wear floaties. I worry about her swimming without them. What I don't anticipate is Zoe's own unwillingness to go in the water if she's not wearing floaties. Her first day at the pool, the camp calls to tell me she has refused to go in. I don't want to make a big deal about it. So later I gently question her, but she doesn't volunteer anything about the no-floaties rule. Instead, she tells me the pool is too cold and too deep. And, also, she's working up to it. Then, before bed, she tells me, Kids can't wear floaties in the pool. Did you know that?
VIZoe has two states of being on the walk to and from camp: running full out or complaining her feet hurt and she's much too exhausted to walk, these states often occurring within minutes of each other.
VII"What are we doing today?"
"You're going to camp. And I'm going to work."
"What about after camp?"
"What we usually do: dinner, bath, bed."
Sometimes I feel a bit guilty. I have to go to work. I like to work. We chose this rather expensive camp because it seemed not only safe but so full of activities she'd have a summer of great memories. Only those memories are ones her parents will not be part of.
But there will be other memories. Most of these snapshots are from the walk home from camp. But we spend time together on the weekends, and she knows we love her, and that's what's most important. Plus, she's making friends and learning to be independent. And sometimes, when Mommy's feeling wild, we ruin our appetites for dinner.
Zoe: 142; Universe: 0
If you liked this post, you might like this one,
where I compare Zoe to a summer's day.
I need a win here, people.
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