my daughter's front bottom tooth is loose. wiggling back and forth. back and forth. an enameled seesaw gliding, effortlessly violent, in the middle of my rib cage. she ate lunch, watched a dvd we rented from the library this morning, leaned over to me and said mommy, look. my tooth is loose.' i leaned in, fully expecting a tiny indentation of movement on my finger. like when you press it against concrete and it gives. (the finger, not the concrete.) i fully expected to honor her observation with unintentional patronizing sincerity. instead, her tooth is a study in geometry and i think about my freshman year of high school and how i wrote notes to my best friends when i was supposed to be learning about angles and theorems and the polarity of variables and i wonder how i ever passed a class called applied mathematics in the first place.
i exclaimed with joy, causing her to clap loudly and start chattering about the tooth fairy. i told her it meant she was a big girl soon. that once she lost her first baby tooth, it meant that she was growing up and how excited i was to see it. how proud i was of her. how much i loved her.
and then i went to the bathroom to cry.
'expressing motherhood' closed last night and i had a tiny palmful of close friends there to support me. they showed up. as did the two friends who babysat for me (for free) so that i could go to rehearsal. as did others who sent me text messages with well wishes, apologies for not being able to make it, emails with love and support. as did my family, as always. (i am a lucky girl.) and it made me think about how well i show up. i know that my friendships have taken a lower priority since the birth of my children. and i'm not apologizing for that. i will never apologize for my children being at the top of my list. my relationship with bryan is entangled up there, too, sometimes being first, sometimes second. it depends on the needs. but with the juggling of those two, i often don't have the energy or time for the rest. right or wrong. that's how it is. and some of my friendships have suffered from it. some have not. so i am always floored and incredibly moved when the ones who show up continue to do so. i have some amazing people in my life and the best part is that my children are exposed to it on a daily basis. because these people who show up for me? my children are just as important to them as i am.
this morning was slow. foggy. i was simultaneously relieved and saddened the show ended because the anxiety of opening myself up in front of a theatre full of people took its toll. but these women? the ones who shared this with me? it was as though we all walked blindfolded into a room of mirrors and were told to take off our skin. to stand up and hold hands and to listen. by the end of the second week, we left our shoes at the back door and spent our time offstage telling our stories to each other. the ones we don't tell our friends and family. we overshared in the way that only those willing to open up can. because we were all there for the same reason. we wanted to know we weren't alone. that we weren't crazy. that we mattered. and while that bubble might not be there anymore, we're still able to say that we showed up for each other. these women who were strangers. who aren't anymore.
i dragged the kids to the library this morning. because after spending so much time the last two weeks listening to stories, i needed to be surrounded by them. to sit among them. while i wrangled the baby in the children's section, i heard finn quietly reading to herself. she sounded out an entire sentence, by herself. without help from me. later, at the park, i asked her if she remembered what she was going to tell daddy tonight when he got home from work. if she remembered what big thing happened. she said yes, she remembered. we drove by the donut shop and you didn't stop.