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Moving On Up

Last night, at bedtime, as I cuddled under a blanket with my sweet little girl, breathing in the scent of her freshly washed hair and feeling all the love in the world, I said this: "I am so so happy to have you and I would never ever trade you for anything in the world." And then, perhaps due to the glass of Cabernet I had drunk with dinner or maybe the bittersweet tone that accompanies the end of the school year, I said "Do you want to know all the things I love about you?" 

Who doesn't?? 

"You are kind. You are smart. You are loving. You are beautiful. You are sensitive to how others are feeling. You are funny. You are creative. You work really hard and always try to do your best. You are talented. You are strong." Maya, who had been counting on her fingers the whole time, grinned at me. "Mama that's 10 things!!!" 
I then told her how so very proud of her her daddy and I are.

Next week is Maya's last week of Kindergarten. Tomorrow is their "moving up ceremony". (They don't call it graduation.) I don't know why I care. She is going to first grade in the fall in the same school, which incidentally, is the same place she attended pre k. It really isn't a big deal.

Except that it is. Last night, right after the wine and right before the bedtime love fest, my daughter read me a 30 page bedtime story. The whole thing. By herself. She makes little books full of stories just like I used to. She speaks Spanish now. (a little, like me) Her accent is flawless. (not like me) She has learned so much this year and she is so ready for first grade.

Me, not so much.

It is often during the times when I am feeling a little off that I go out of my way to tell my daughter how much she is loved. When I am extra tired. When I am sick. When something is hurting. (And as a fighter something is always hurting).When I am stressed out about life or work or money or nothing in particular. It is not that I am feeling guilty. Ok, fine but it is not just that I am feeling guilty, not just that I am hoping all these compliments will erase that time I lost my patience and yelled too loud. It is more than just makeup talk.

The truth is, I feel more emotional during those times, more clingy and most of all, more grateful for all that being a mom has given me. I feel that way during times of transition too. A school year ending. A graduation.  A birthday. All these things that remind me of how big my little girl is getting, a fact which somehow simultaneously fills me with joy and terror.

Sometimes when I tell Maya, while snuggled under her blanket and breathing in the sweet smell of her hair, just how much I love her she is as stoic as Han Solo. "I know Mama. I know." But other times she lights up from head to toe, throws her arms around me and displays a smile as wide as the Williamsburg Bridge. And in those moments I think that there is no such as thing as too much love and that I am going to wallpaper her room with all the ways that she is amazing until the day I die. Or at least until she tells me to stop. Repeatedly. And even then, I might not listen.

Happy graduation everyone.
Happy moving up.
Happy summer.


  1. Great piece, Sensei! You and your family are blessed, indeed. So cool about Maya reading you a bedtime story!


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