Story Time and Motherhood
Every night, Penelope and I have our nightly routine. Penelope picks out a book, climbs into bed, and waits for me to join her. She goes through phases where she'll choose the same book night over night, which brings a smile to my face. In the beginning, the book she'll choose will be called "this one." And by the third night we've read it, she'll grab it and call it by its title. Last night she ran into her bedroom and grabbed I Love You Stinky Face. If you have never read this book with your child, I urge you to do so. It is such an astounding book that encompasses the unconditional love a mother has for her child.
As I climbed into bed with my precious P, she grabbed the book from me, and says, "I love you stinky face. I read it mommy." I love this book, and reading it brings me such joy so I made a deal with her. I would read it to her, and once I finished, she could read it to me. Anytime I read to her, she is engrossed in every small detail. She doesn't take anything for granted, and looks at the illustration as if it were the very first time she's seen it. Regardless of how many times I've read the story to her, I can be certain that she'll ask "Mommy, what is this?" She'll point at the same exact details every time, and although she knows what it is she's pointing at, she wants to hear it from me. I never mind her interrupting me mid sentence to ask me this, because it never gets old to me. I love her relentless curiosity. She'll ask me several times what something is and I'll tell her the same answer. Yet it doesn't satisfy her question. She needs to hear it two times, three times, sometimes four. "Mommy, what is this?" "A dinosaur baby." "Mommy, what is this?" "It's a dinosaur." "No mommy, what is this?" (still pointing to the dinosaur) "It's a dinosaur." Then she looks at me with those big brown eyes, cuing me to continue with the story. And then the process starts all over. "Mommy, what is this?"
When I finished reading I Love You Stinky Face, it was her turn, and I handed her the book. Usually her reading is constructed of a lot of mumbling and some laughing while she turns the pages (except for Brown Bear, Brown Bear which she has memorized pret-ty good!). Yet last night, she held the book and used her pointer finger to run across the title and said "I love you stinky face." She opened the book and remembering what I had read, proceeded to "read" "Momma, momma, stinky face, I love you." And although every single page was exactly the same when she read it, I decided, I liked it much better when she read it. As I laid there in bed with her, listening to her read, it brought tears to my eyes. It brings tears to my eyes now as I sit here typing. My daughters are absolutely amazing. My father in law often says he can't believe that he has four babies (even though they're grown adults now!), and that even though he was there for their births, he still can't believe it. I feel exactly the same way. It's surreal to me that I have these two beautiful daughters that are half me. I am in awe of them everyday and I try not take any minute that I have with them for granted. On days that I feel I've ran out of steam, or not lived up to my expectations as a mother or wife, I look forward to story time with my sweet girls. I know this routine, it is error proof, and I cannot botch this one up. Right now, Scarlett goes to bed before Penelope and so Scarlett's and my story time is done with just the two of us. I look forward to the day when Penelope will read the story to Scarlett, while I snuggle in bed with the both of them.
Story time is one of the most sacred acts a parent and child can partake in. It's the part of the day when all frustrations, worries, and mistakes are erased. It's the part of the day when you and your child can escape to any place in the world and embark on indescribable adventures. It's the part of the day where you are forced to slow down, put all media aside, and embrace the most extraordinary gift you have in your life. Story time with my girls is something I treasure now and forever will.
Date Night Goes Awry
Over the weekend, Brandon and I decided to go on our first date since Scarlett was born, and utilize our Movie Tavern gift card we received for Christmas. As anyone with children knows, in order to go on a date, it takes at least a week of planning. First, ask the in laws if they can watch the girls. Check. Next, come up with a game plan. First, find out what time the movie starts. Descendants started at seven, which meant we needed to leave our house at five, (that meant be in the car by five, not start packing the car at five!)and get the luggage into Gigi and Papa's house (and by luggage I mean the bags with their pajamas, bedtime paraphernalia, carseats, and well...you get it!). I needed to explain their bedtime routines, show how the swaddler worked, feed both my daughters, kiss them goodbye, and lastly, thank the in laws again for watching them. Phew! All this needed to be accomplished by six so we could be at the movies siting in our seats by seven. Game plan mapped out...Check.
Now on the actual day, you can have EVERYTHING planned out, outlined, drawn up, mapped out, you name it, and it's done. However, there are various things that are beyond our control that can throw EVERYTHING off, and that is exactly what occurred to us.
As we left the in laws and got onto the highway, we were bombarded and blindsided. Yes, I am being somewhat melodramatic when I say bombarded and blindsided. However, we were not expecting to literally come to a complete halt, but as we all know from experience, we can not plan for this ugly thing. This horrible, terrible thing that forces the impatient to be patient. Yes, you guessed it, traffic.
Now before I go on with this story, let me disclose a little detail about myself.
I am a clingy mother who has a hard time leaving her children. Very seldom do Brandon and I go on dates. So needless to say, when we DO go on a date, it's a big leap for me.
I tell you this fact about myself, because when we encountered the traffic and couldn't make it to the movie, I started hyperventilating (in my head that is). I didn't want to ruin the date for Brandon and so I internalized all my irrational and worrisome thoughts. Was this a sign that we shouldn't have left the girls? Should we turn around and just forget about date night? Naturally, I knew the answers to all of these questions were "NO!" I regrouped and came up with Plan B. We would go to a different Movie Tavern and see what was playing there. I called the in laws and they informed us of the movies and times at the theater location we would now be going to. Once we got to the theater, parked the car, and got in line, we soon discovered that the movie we were going to be seeing was SOLD OUT! Are you KIDDING ME?! The next showtimes for all of the movies weren't for a couple of hours. Plan C.
While I tried to comfort my very frustrated husband, I offered the idea of going to a restaurant. Brandon, being the movie lover that he is, would not accept defeat. He decided we'd turn around, go back towards home, and try the theater near our house. Brandon wanted his salty, butter drenched, theater popcorn, and he was GOING TO GET IT! We approached the theater at 7:30 and what do you know? Descendants was playing at 7:30 and it WASN'T sold out! We purchased the tickets, bought our refreshments and snacks, and enjoyed a surprisingly good George Clooney flick.
So what did I learn from this crazy adventure called date night? Two things: never give up, and be patient. I could have easily thrown in the towel when we hit traffic and said let's just turn it around my love. Nevertheless, I didn't. Sometimes we plan until we're blue in the face, and then all of it just goes out the door for whatever reasons. I can't always have a Plan B, Plan C or a Plan D, but I can learn to just roll with the punches and enjoy whatever life throws my way!