I fell asleep last night to the soft sound of our daughter snoring next to me, and I woke up to a small warm hand stroking my back. I turned over under the poofy down comforter to face her, and there was her smiling chubby-cheeked face buried in my husband’s pillow, her swim meet hair snarled all over her forehead and chin and the muted gold pillowcase. “Good morning, Mommy,” she said. Happiness radiated off of her, that she got to sleep in the bed with me. “I love you,” she said, and petted my arm.
This is a big weekend for our kids. Our 9 year old son is off with Dad in Richmond for a soccer tournament. They drove last night, and ate Five Guys cheeseburgers, and watched TV in a hotel room. While our daughter and I lingered this morning in PJs, they got up early and donned fleece hats, thick hooded sweatshirts, coats, and gloves for an 8:30 am soccer game on a crisp, 35 degree morning. You know, father son stuff.
Mom and daughter, on the other hand, sat side by side in a booth at The Olive Garden last night. I people-watched – a young man with delicate bone structure and wearing a suit smiled sweetly at his date; an exhausted married couple leaned over constantly, picking up food and toys that their young children threw on the floor; two silver haired women with bifocals sat on the same side of a table, and after 20 minutes the people they were meeting finally showed up, the woman with spiky hair and tight jeans and high heels, and who placed her phone face up on the table so that she could monitor it during dinner – while our daughter played word games on the kids’ menu. We ate ravioli, then sundaes, then drove home, threw her towels and suit into the dryer, and crawled in bed together to read. You know, mother daughter stuff.
And this morning, instead of layering in winter clothing, our daughter is suiting up in her H2Okies competition swimsuit, a black speedo with a turkey (Hokie bird) footprint on it. The suit is only about 12 inches long for her tiny 7 year old body. She swam a 200 yard individual medley in it last night, the first she’s ever attempted, and though we were able to wake without an alarm clock this morning, and we don’t have to leave for another 3 hours, we’ve already marked her arm for the events of today: 50 fly, 100 breast, and 50 free.
We will spend all day at the aquatic center, then come home to pizza and a movie. We will snuggle in bed reading, and wake up without an alarm, and mark her arm with another four events tomorrow, while Dad and son bundle up in Richmond for more soccer.
These days are my favorite part of parenting. These days are what it’s all about.