Saturday, June 4, 2011

Get Smaller

A minute ago I was in the kitchen, setting out ingredients to make sticky buns for tomorrow's breakfast.  I was about to walk right past the counter where the computer lives, switch off the light, and go to bed.  But I made myself stop, pick it up, and sit down at the dining room table, where out the window I can see the very last gray-blue light of this summer's evening.

It's tempting these days, as the girls' stories become more their own and I feel less and less sure of what to write here, to go to bed at night without writing anything.  Used to be, I'd prompt myself almost every single night to write at least a paragraph or two about our day; I'd ask, What do I want to remember about today?  Lately, though, I tend to write long, imaginary treatises about Big Issues (The Mommy Wars!  Money!  Religion!  Inappropriate Media Causing First-Grade Girl Drama!), but they don't show up here, because I've written them in my head.  While in the shower.  Or on a run.

I look back on those old, old posts (I started blogging when Jemma was not quite six months old, during what's become fondly known as The Sweating Phase of parenting), and I am reminded of something that Heather Sellers told me in a writing workshop once:  Get Smaller.  Because I wrote about teething and favorite baby dolls, car trips and tantrums, conversations with friends and the food that we ate, The Sound of Music phase and the time Annie declared her love for her preschool teacher to be greater than her love for me, Jemma's first haircut and Annie's first time swimming by herself; I wrote about the little things, the details, the minutiae of life together.  And I treasure those old posts so very much.

So tonight, for my 400th entry in this space (a fact I did not even realize until I had settled at the table, computer glowing in front of me), I want to get smaller.  I want to ask, What do I want to remember about today?

Today I woke up to a note Annie wrote me last night while Jason and I were out, which ends, "Thank you for taking care of me.  I love you so very much."  Today I ran with my friends around the lake first thing and came home to drink coffee and watch The Magic School Bus BUGS! with the girls.  Today we went to the pool and stayed for lunch and talked to friends and Jemma went down the waterslide a zillion times, pumping her hands in the air in celebration each time.  Today I wore a big, ridiculous, new straw hat and got mocked for looking like I was going to a regatta while walking Annie down to Lucy's birthday party.  Today I wore my wet-in-the-butt swim coverup to the grocery store inappropriately and thought to detour to Rite-Aid on the way home to buy water balloons.  Today our whole family sat in the hot, wet grass in the yard and soaked each other with water balloons until it was time to come in for dinner.  Today I was grateful that the girls are at an age where candy from a birthday party pinata and $2.99 worth of water balloons can make their whole afternoon magical.  Today I smelled Jemma's hair when I tucked her into bed . . . and when I tucked her back into bed after she got up to "go potty" half an hour later . . . and when I tucked her back into bed at 9:24 after she "had to tell you something about my nose."

Today I remembered to get smaller, and cherish the little things.

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