Friday, December 20, 2013

By the way

Just 2 little moments I wanted to capture in snapshots of words....

We'd just finished a book about using your imagination, being a dreamer, the whole "you can do anything if you believe in yourself" kind of thing. It was already past her bedtime, but, in a move a bit unlike me, I took a moment to ask about her dreams. When she seemed puzzled by the question, I rephrased. "Have you ever thought about what you want to be when you grow up?"

She hesitated. "Well, there is one thing." Another pause. "I want to be an animal doctor."

"A veterinarian," I supplied the word for her. Then, "How come?"

If I'd never understood the idea of an expression flickering across someone's face, I would have fully grasped it then, as I watched her brow furrow and her lips purse for just a fraction of a second. It was almost as if her whole face was crumpling up to cry. And then, just like that, she collected herself, her face returning to its previous calm demeanor, and answered softly. "So I can take care of Sharla when she gets sick."

I knew an answer like that was coming; I'd read it in that look that shimmered across her face. "You still feel sad about Sasha and Ivan sometimes, huh?"

When she nodded, I tucked my arm around her. "Me too."

I was out on an errand tonight when Ari went through her bedtime routine; she'd been in bed at least half an hour when I got home. I slipped silently into her room to say good night.

She didn't stir as I entered, so I assumed she was asleep. But as soon as I placed a delicate kiss on her forehead, she startled awake, blurting a sharp "Huh?", the cry of one who doesn't know what woke them up.

"Shh, it's just me," I soothed.

And her tone melted in familiarity as she crooned "Mama," that single word so infused with affection that I nearly melted myself.

I stroked her hair aside to give her another kiss, whispering my good night and telling her to go back to sleep.

I'd just reached the door when she called out to me. "Mama? Can you tell Daddy that I love him?"

"Of course. Good night."

"Oh, and I love you too. By the way."

And then I stepped into our bedroom and taped to the wall above our bed (right in the middle and therefore obviously meant for both of us) was a sheet of notebook paper, with these words written in pen and highlighted in yellow (or perhaps vice versa):

Remember I'll always love you.

Your child, Ari

Monday, September 16, 2013

Three years

It happened right after I climbed into bed last night. Even though it was a few minutes after midnight (and therefore already September 16th), I lay there and it struck me... Today was September 15th. It's been 3 years.

And then, just as suddenly, I was awash in a strange mix of emotions... relief, guilt, lingering grief, a melancholy happiness. I still miss those 2 sweet puppies, but time has softened the pain into a gentle ache that only flares up every now and then.

What makes my forgetfulness even stranger is that we now drive by the very spot where they were hit twice a week, because the field where Ari plays and practices soccer is on that same road. (Aside from soccer, we rarely drive that direction.) And on Saturday, the 14th, the day they were both hit and the day Sasha died, we drove right past that spot on our way to Ari's third soccer game. Yet, for whatever reason, my brain didn't make the connection between the date and the place until almost two days later.

I don't worry that I will ever forget them completely. There are enough reminders surrounding me... a large frame filled with photos, a daughter who still voices her sorrow now and then, our new dog (who we joke is the reincarnation of both of them, an uncanny mix of Sasha's looks and Ivan's personality), the tattoo that I designed in tribute to them (forever inked on my right side). But it is a beautiful relief to know that I can think of them now without falling apart.

There was a time when these memories burned like the summer sun, relentless and unhindered in a cloudless sky, making everything miserable. But now, these memories glow like the sun in springtime, bright and alive, still intense at times, but accompanied by the occasional cloud and gentle breeze that keep the heat from becoming unbearable.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Half my life

It was at dinner on Friday night that it struck me, and I have no idea why. But I suddenly yelped "Oh!" out of nowhere.

Prompting him (of course) to reply, "What?"

"It's past June 13th. Which means..." I paused for dramatic effect. "I can now officially say that I have known you more than half my life."

See, once upon a time (several months ago), we got to talking about how long we've known each other. And then one of us (me) wondered out loud if we could figure out exactly how long we've known each other. Which led to the realization that I've known him almost half my life. Which led to doing a little more math to figure out exactly when I'd pass that halfway point. We met in early September 1994. I was 17 years, 9 months old. So I figured out (with help from him) that once I passed the 35 years, 6 months mark, I would be able to say that I have known him longer than I have NOT known him.

June 13th was that halfway point. Which means now I can say I have known him just slightly more than half my life.

(He's going to have to be 39 before he can say the same.)

Half my life. Kind of mind-blowing, isn't it?

And dorky. I know. But I thought it was neat and deserved to be documented somehow.

So... here's to the next 17 years and 9 months.

(No, I am not doing the math to figure out how old I'll be then.)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A portrait of me

Ari brought home a school project... her interview/portrait of Mommy. I shared a piece of it on Facebook already (#6), but here is the entire thing, in all its glory.

In case you can't read it, it says...

1. What does your mommy do while you are at school? She usually is at work at a restaurant.
2. If your mommy was an animal, what kind would she be? A rabbit.
3. The most important rule your mommy says is... Stay with mom and dad so they can keep me safe.
4. Your favorite thing to do with your mommy is? Just mommy and Ariana time.
5. I love my mommy because... She loves me, too.
6. My mommy is as pretty as... My dad.
7. What makes your mommy laugh? When I make funny faces.
8. Nobody is better than she is at... Taking care of me.

I had to ask her about her answer for #1, because it was wrong. I work as a proofreader, and though I probably haven't used the word "proofreader" when I tell her about my job, I know I've described it to her in simpler terms. But seeing her answer to this question made me think that maybe I've done a poor job explaining it to her, which made me feel bad.

So I asked her, casually, not accusingly, "Why did you say I work at a restaurant?"

And I swear to you, I think she rolled her eyes a little as she answered, "Mo-om. Because... I didn't want to just say that you read books all day."

So, you guys, it's not that she doesn't know what I do... it's that she knows AND she thinks it's lame. I could not stop laughing. Which I think offended her a little. So I guess that means we're even.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Ari in review, 2011 version

Yes, yes, once again I have been severely neglecting this blog. I am trying to decide what to do with it. It used to be pretty much strictly Ari-centric... and while there's nothing wrong with that, I am contemplating "expanding" this blog into more than just a review of what's going on with her.

That said, however, this post will be all about her. Nothing like a little procrastination, right?

If you follow me on Twitter or are my friend on Facebook, you know that I like to share funny/random things that Ari says/does. It's not because I'm trying to be one of those obnoxious parents who's all "You guys, my kid is the CUTEST and FUNNIEST human EVER!" But I figure, hey, if it amuses me, then maybe it will do the same for someone else, and who am I not to share the funny?

A couple years ago, I did an "Ari in review" post, wherein I collected most of the Ari quotations I'd tweeted during the year and stuffed them all in one post. So I thought it would be fun to do it again, because it's kind of nice to have all this stuff in one place (for ease of future blackmailing, of course). So feel free to skip... or enjoy.

Ari: Is my hair going to change color when I get older?
Tony: Not until you get really, really old.
Ari: Like Mommy?

Ari: Mama, I'm almost a grown-up.
Me: Oh yeah?
Ari: Yeah, because I'm almost as tall as you are.

Ari: So, Mama, do you have to go through Texas and all the states and then you get to space?
Me: Uh, something like that.

I asked Ari what her favorite thing at the gymnastics event was, and she said, "My favorite thing is that I'm glad I love you."

Me: Ari, don't cough in my face. You don't cough in people's faces.
Ari: Don't you love me?

Ari: When I get to heaven, I'm going to look for Sasha and Ivan because I bet they miss me. And I bet Ivan will jump on me.

I overheard Ari calmly explaining to Sharla, "I am not a dog. I am a people and I am in charge of you."

Me: Guess what?
Ari: What?
Me: I love you very much!
Ari: Guess what?
Me: What?
Ari: I love your very stinky feet!

Ari: Know what? A caterpillar goes into a raccoon and then becomes a butterfly.
Me: I think you mean cocoon.

Ari: Mommy, how do I look?
Me: You look like a monkey.
Ari: Now you say, How do I look?
Me: How do I look?
Ari: Like a elephant.

Me: Ari, I love this picture. But you know what?
Ari: What?
Me: I love you more.
Ari: You know who I love most?
Me: Who?
Ari: Sharla.

Ari: When I grow up, I'm going to be a farmer for 5 years, and then I'm going to play basketball and go to the Basketball Hall of Fame.

Ari, frustrated with her inability to find the right red crayon: "These crayons look red but write pink. Why does God keep tricking me?"

I scolded Sharla for chewing up something she wasn't supposed to have... then heard Ari whispering to Sharla, "It's ok. I still love you."

Ari: Mama?
Me: Yes?
Ari: I love you. And you know what? I just decided I love you even more than that. I don't know why.

Ari: The reason I don't cough into the air is so I don't get God sick.

Me: Ari, eat your breakfast.
Ari: I can't. My tongue is too itchy.

Ari tried telling me that "babies" rhymes with "chainsaw." Obviously she still has a lot to learn in school.

Me (reading Ari a bedtime story): "... Cookie upset the trash can."
Ari: That's silly. How could a trash can get upset?

Ari: Tomorrow I have to wear my rock star shirt because I want to feel like a rock star.

Ari: Mama, you know what? I pretty darn love you.

Ari (right after apologizing for a bad attitude): Mommy, I love you so much and I just can't believe how pretty you are.

Ari: You know what I want to be for next Halloween? Apple juice. Oh no wait, I'm just thirsty.

Ari, hiding from Daddy: Mama, tell him I turned into an invisible ghost and went to California.

Ari: What's God's middle name and last name?
Me: He doesn't have a middle or last name.
Ari: So he's just God? Hmm. I think he's Dr. God.

Me: Ok, no more cookies. 2 is enough.
Ari: I can't help it. You're the best baker ever and I just love them so much.