The girls’ school called me this morning to pick up my newly minted six-year-old, caught in a rackety upsweep of fever. I was barely through the entryway before Natalie wrapped herself around me. “I want to go home,” she whispered, eyes drooping onto flushed cheeks. “Of course, kiddo; let’s get you home.”
Mothering hadn’t factored into my plans for the next few hours. I had just left work, and I had lesson plans to go over, an editing project to finish, and mountains of both laundry and correspondence to scale. I was also chewing on an upcoming writing deadline I’ve been hoping to meet, and the house needed disaster relief aid after yesterday’s birthday party in which glitter featured heavily. Just in case I had time left over (ha) and was wondering how to spend it, I could always put a little thought into birthday party #2 fast approaching on Sunday. Oh, and Natalie’s presents should probably be wrapped at some point, considering her special day is was yesterday. Also, if truth be admitted, I wasn’t feeling too hot myself and wouldn’t have turned down a nap.
However, tomato soup, fairy tales, and plenty of unrushed snuggle time were clearly called for. Natalie didn’t require any brain power or motivation from me, just the number one remedy used by mamas worldwide: love (give or take a cool hand to the forehead every three minutes). She is growing up so quickly, that girl—sugar and spice making way for vocabulary and art—and she has her own trajectory now outside of my arms. It’s incredible to have grown-up conversations with my wide-eyed baby, read long-winded books to her, give her scissors and a workspace and let her go to town, giggle over shared jokes… but I so miss the days of rocking her to sleep that my heart squeezes the breath from my lungs. So while I might not have planned to spend today burrowed under blankets and storybooks, I can think of worse ways to celebrate a girl whose years are rushing by faster than time itself.