Sunday, March 7, 2010
The Beginning of the End
We've lost her.
First, it was a 5-hour birthday party Saturday that included a play at Beef and Boards. While I tried to get her into a skirt, she resisted mightily. We compromised on a pair of glittery butterfly-embroirdered blue jeans that she's only worn once. She preferred pull on velveteen pants she's worn 17 million times and has the worn spots to prove it. Dresses and skirts are too girly. Denim is harsh against her sensitive skin. She prefers pull-on velvet, velveteen or cotton fibers worn thin in spots. And shirts that preferably match nothing else.
She got home from the birthday party and within minutes had a visit from the little girl next door who had a friend over and wanted a third. That turned into a marshmallow roast and a sleepover.
Sunday morning, not long after we'd gotten home from our walk, another knock. This time from a little girl down the street who visits every other weekend with her dad, but who we haven't seen for a while. Everyone had their bikes out celebrating the great weather, so Ali got hers and they sailed off to the park under the guidance of Jessie's dad.
Alison did, eventually, return to us; velveteen pants full of sand from the park, her hair tangled with bits of grass and leaves.
I was somewhat grateful for the diversions. I've cleverly fallen victim to a late winter cold that had me hacking so much at work my colleagues sent me home early. Jeff has regained his title of Best Husband Ever by taking care of me and bringing me sugar-free cough medicine, Kleenex and fluids. So it's not like I've been a fun playmate anyway.
At one point today, I woke up from a sweaty nap on the couch to find she'd written me a note on the newspaper page that rested on my chest. "Dear Mom. Get better soon." It had a little heart, too.
So sure, she likes me. But it's clear to see her slipping away.
Before Jessie had knocked on the door, we were planning to sit down to lunch. Ali had had a grilled cheese at the newspaper stand, but she was begging for a bowl of Ramen. Her hunger pangs evaporated with the invitation to go play, so it was just Jeff and me at the table; staring at each other in a silent house over tuna-salad sandwiches and the Sunday NY Times.
I had a flash-forward to the days when it really will be just he and I, gray-haired and bent over, sharing cans of tuna and soup while our daughter travels the world or (gasp) takes off with some lover somewhere with no thought at all of us.
I'd better get better fast. And I'd better learn how to play Mario Kart.
As we were clearing dinner plates tonight (somehow she managed to fit us in to her busy schedule) Jeff suggested that the two of them have a race after dessert and her bath. "Maybe I'll smoke you this time," he said.
"Yeah. Probably not," she tossed out, legitimately full of confidence.