Friday, August 21, 2009

The Corner.

I grew up in a great neighborhood in Detroit. We were the last few blocks before leaving the city. We knew the neighbors well and they knew us. Kids played in the yard and in the street, and everybody looked out for them. We moved there when I was around one, sometime before my twin brothers were born. We lived there until just a few months before I started high school when we moved to a neighboring city.

One of my favorite memories was waiting for my dad after work.

My dad worked for the Board of Education in a nearby high school. He worked during the day, so he'd get off work around 3:00pm and it only took him minutes to get home. He took the same route home everyday - driving through the park and turning left on to our street.

Everyday during the summer, at just after 3:00pm, my brothers and I would grab our bikes (or sometimes just walk) down to the corner to wait for him. Everyday we would sit there, waiting as patiently as children can, our eyes fixed on the park, waiting for the first glimpse of his car. As he drove closer, we'd all get in ready position and as soon as he'd make the turn on our street, we were off!! Everyday we would race dad home.

There were days that my brothers didn't want to go with me to the corner. I'd go alone, and wait for my dad. Sometimes he'd beat me home, sometimes he'd let me win. He mostly let me win.

I can still picture his face as he rounded the corner, always smiling at us. I can still feel the excitement of the race. It was a big deal.

It's been over 12 years since we moved away from that house. So much has changed. My parents are no longer married. My dad is remarried. I haven't seen my dad in over a year. We've been home for almost three months and I have not seen him. Somehow we've gotten to this place where we don't communicate. Not just me, but he doesn't communicate with any of his children the way he used to.

I still get excited, just a bit, when I see he calls or when he texts, as rarely as it happens. I feel like that little girl standing on the corner, just waiting for a glimpse of her daddy. I wait a lot more these days than I did when I was little, but I still wait. I know he'll come, eventually.

I drive by our old house sometimes. It's my happy place, I guess. We were happy there. I drive past that corner and smile, remembering.

My dad still works at the same school he worked at 12 years a go. I sometimes wonder if he drives past our old house, where we were happy, and think about us. I wonder if he drives past that corner and smiles, remembering.

I hold on to the hope that he does.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

She's growing up...but I didn't agree to that!

It seems like just yesterday I was in the hospital, high as a kite, laughing my way through 13 hours of labor. The Princess made her grand entrance into this world in the afternoon (as is the tradition of the women in our family, all PM babies!) on a Monday, with the sun streaming through the window of our hospital room. That's what I remember most about that day - how it went from dark to light in what seemed like seconds, as if her presence had brightened our room, our world, our hearts.

Oh, and I also remember the first thing she did as she emerged into the bright room was poop on my foot and the doctor. First impressions, I tell ya...

Today began the next chapter of her bright little life. I signed her up for pre-school.

To be completely honest, I am a wreck. How do I leave my bright, creative, energetic baby with some person who does not know her or understand her spirit? She's bubbly and happy and smart as a whip. She moves through life with a skip in her step, her blonde curls bouncing everywhere she goes. She brightens the room when she enters with her beautiful smile, her quick wit, her sparkling eyes. How can I be sure that these people at her school will take my bright, spirited baby under their wing and foster her creativity and energy? How can I be sure that her beautiful spirit will be accepted and not frowned upon? How can I be sure that they will just accept her as she is, and not look at her as unruly or misbehaving when she sings a Taylor Swift song randomly at the top of her lungs in the middle of the day, or when she goes on one of her great adventures with her pal Swiper and her pet Lamb (whether they come to class or not!)? Oh gosh, and those kids...they better be nice to her! How can I protect her from cruel children? How can I be sure she is strong enough to let those comments roll off her back? How can I be sure that she comes home from that school still bubbly and shining and bright?

How do I not be the crazy mother who drives by twenty times during recess and peers through the windows of her classroom???

My poor kid. I should be more worried about how embarrassed she's going to be by her stalker mother following her around her college campus in 14 years....

Wait. 14 years until she is in college??? That's it??? I am so not ready for any of this!!

So tonight I'm not going to worry about her waking up in the middle of the night and cuddling up next to me and whispering, "Hold me, Mama" as she plays with my hair. Because in 14 years, she's going to be sleeping in her college dorm room, completely unconcerned about her mother...

...who will probably be peering in her window!