The joys

My teenage diary tended to only get written in when I had a problem to work out. I don’t want this blog to be like that. I also want to remember the joyous moments that can slip away too quickly if I let them.

The feeling of Sophie’s warm little hand wrapped tightly around my littlest-finger: that is how she holds hands, and it’s hard to convey how delightful this feels. Soph reliably reaches for my pinkie-finger in every parking-lot and street-crossing, then lets go of my finger once we reach the sidewalk. I love both her responsibility and her independence, but most deeply, I just love it when she holds my hand.

“You fill my bucket,” Sophie whispers to me sometimes, adopting the phrase from a book her school-teacher read two months ago. I love this corny metaphor. Having metaphysical conversations in the car, giggle-chases in the backyard, the feeling of her warm breath whispering a secret in my ear, or just watching Sophie playing patiently with our elderly cat (who is not an easy playmate): there is a huge list of things that Sophie does that fill my bucket. Brushing her hair, most mornings, while we listen to the birds sing. Watching her intently painting and collaging, deeply engaged in making thank-you cards for every single one of the guests at her birthday party. Those are the things I don’t want to forget.

A while ago, I posted on facebook: “One of the unexpected joys of motherhood is watching Sophie watch a snail.” We have too many snails right now, so snails have lost their enchantment and roly-poly bugs are the obsession of the moment: but it’s Sophie’s attentive and empathetic patience that absolutely fills my bucket.

When I have time to read one book to Sophie at preschool drop-off, I sit in the reading rocking-chair, Soph picks out a book and sits in the center of my lap, and then gradually, as I am reading, a half-dozen of her little friends gather around, perched everywhere possible, hanging on my arms, anxious to get as close to the book as possible, asking questions and pointing at pictures and overall making me feel like I am the best reader ever. Those toddlers give my reading more rapt attention than I think I ever get from my college students. Those kids can appreciate books. I don’t want to forget to appreciate them.

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