Each night, as my nerves are at their most frayed, when I’m the most tired and things hurt and my brain just needs some quiet, we all settle in for bedtime stories. For reasons unknown to me, getting ready for bed is the hardest part of the day for a 2 year old. Who taught her to stall? Brush your teeth please.Commence fit. Go potty. No we can't watch "just one more minute of the movie". You already had dinner.. Get your jammies on kiddo, which ones should we wear? Oh sorry, looks like we don’t have any that go with that drama. Just these pink ones, is that ok?
But then the three of us plus a sister inside my belly are in her room and the worst is over and we read some stories. And while Adam reads and she listens intently, I stare at her. As I brush her hair away from her face things are calm and I can reconcile the day. Although I am exhausted, tired of hearing my own voice, and but minutes before felt like I couldn't do this for one more moment – I begin to miss her. She’s sitting right in front of me but soon I’ll be out there and she’ll be in here sleeping and we won’t be together. And I glance down at my belly and I think of how she’s in there but soon she’ll be out here and we won’t be together. And today, just like yesterday and all the ones before it, is the only today I had with her like that and little baby like this.
I try not to beat myself up about that. Because every day can’t be amazing, it never will be. I tickle her back and I think of the good stuff and I bring those things up so we can talk about them before I leave her. Please don’t hold the lows against me, I think. And as I fall to sleep, or sometimes lie awake mentally kicking myself, depending on the day, I vow to make tomorrow full of more highs than lows. Even on the high days I have to vow that. Because let’s be honest, each and every day with small people are crap shoots. Sometimes your mental state doesn’t matter. Sometimes they have other ideas and you just have to get through that day as best as you can because as I remind myself numerous times a day, it actually IS hard to be two. And three and four and six and twelve and twenty eight.
She is so lovely, and I can’t believe I made her with my body. And she sits there reading books and laughing with daddy showing us her scrapes and bruises on her knees. I try to memorize these things. They are important. They are her. Soon she will stop falling or bumping her knees randomly, take showers, not need us for things. It will be a while but at the same time it won’t. So I stare, and file those things away because really, it’s almost over.
She is 2 years, 10 months and 26 days old today, for the first and last time.