i have slept away 80 percent of the last two days. i woke up this morning with the achy backbone of a body prone, heard the cobwebs rattling between muscles and bone. it's amazing how quickly the body learns to lay dormant. it seems my body's first instinct is to stop and curl into itself, arms wrapped around and around until cocooned. today, i woke up soft and sore and edges dried out, like fresh baked bread left ignored on the counter. the aftermath of a 48 hour illness. i feel stale.
yesterday, i am on the couch when he comes back from picking finn up at school. i am wearing ill-fitting pajamas that are beyond comfortable and i am glazed over with sick. he fixes finn a snack and sits down next to me on the couch. 'you're real pretty.' not a trace of sarcasm. finn looks up. 'yeah, mommy, you're real pretty.' and she means it. because he means it.
in his next breath, he says 'she's starting to look more and more like you.' and then to finn 'you look like mommy.'
which she learns, at the age of two, is a compliment. because she says 'thank you.'
recently, as we're going to bed, i remark that finn is, by far, the funniest person i know. she already has a wicked sense of humor and she's not even three.
'she has your sense of humor,' he tells me.
one of my goals in life was to never have to watch my daughter learn about love the hard way. i want her to know that love is a verb and that all the flowers and chocolate in the world do not mean shit when you're sick on the couch and need a couple days off from life to curl into your cocoon. that grand gestures are generally done for the crowd and the applause. that it's the quiet moments, when your guard is down, that matter. that knowing your partner thinks that the best parts of your children come from you is worth the surrendering of the fantasy. that fairy tales are great stories, but they are nothing compared to the real thing.
we spy on her when she plays alone in her room. perhaps it is because we both enjoy spending time alone, crave it. so when we find her playing in her room, talking to herself or giving a tour of her 'cool stuff' to whatever imaginary friend happens to be tagging along, we sit as quiet as possible watching her, marveling. i wish i could transform myself into a tiny ladybug, atop her dollhouse. recording the mumblings that are just low enough that i can't make them out. writing down her songs so that they can be played back for her when she is an old woman and needs to remember how to feel like herself again. there may come a time when she wishes she could choose other parents (because don't we all, at some point, rage against that which we can't control?) but i don't ever want to give her a reason worth holding onto.
i want her to always feel safe enough to dress herself up however she wants, to know that her core is rooted in myself and in bryan and that we will always see the magic. we will always spy on her from the corner, unable to look away. that we will always be just beyond the reach of her imagination. that she is never alone.