My daughter will be 10 years old in a matter of days (a week and a half roughly). She has always been tall for her age (even early on before she was standing, when we called it long). And she is so grown up in certain ways and such a little girl in certain ways. I ponder how much growing up really means growing away from, and how much it might mean we stay just as close but in different ways. In any case, the time is passing like water falling through my fingers, like red leaves shaken off the maple tree in fall as the wind rises– just so fast, so fast, so fast.
We went out with friends on Friday night and after dinner in a restaurant that has games, including several ping-pong tables, and before a funny dessert of ice cream from the grocery store eaten outdoors at the tables of a closed cafe, we landed, with the other family, as we often do, in one of our favorite bookstores. The store has a huge upstairs and a slightly smaller downstairs with a big children’s book area. My daughter asked, maybe earlier, but maybe when we arrived in the bookstore– exactly when is Mother’s Day? I explained. Not tomorrow, but the next day. Sunday. All day. She asked for money and I understood quickly though not immediately that she was planning gifts of love and kindness for her two mommies– and gave her the money. Later I thought about this as part of the colonization of being young (and perhaps more so of being the only child)– how you are subject to the dependence on adults, even when trying to do something independently kind for them. She doesn’t carry her own money wherever she goes; and she had no way of knowing we would land in this bookstore where she might like to shop for her moms. She is dependent on me or her other mommy to tell her dates, explain certain things, even when she is planning a surprise for one of us– and completely dependent on us to make sure she has money on her when she needs it.
She got the requested money and promptly disappeared from sight. And because this bookstore is such a known place for us– I let her roam and didn’t worry.
Yesterday morning I heard her get out of bed and fell really, not pretendly– back into a deep sleep– only to be awakened by her good face with a tray– coffee (my decaf with cream, every morning), eggs just the way I like them and with a special garnish designed with her artistic hand and eye for me, along with a bowl of cereal and fruit and yogurt for my partner. M., my partner, who sleeps so deeply and was harder to awaken, came slowly to consciousness and the tray was placed carefully on our laps– and we ate. In bed.
She then left and came back again with two neatly and beautifully wrapped small packages. And cards. M. got a book– a young reader’s book– the first in a series from which they have read together– #2 and are working on #3. I got a blank journal even though I fear sometimes, that my days of writing by hand, in a blank journal may be dwindling, but perhaps this will revive me and the practice as well. It is a beautiful and perfect blank journal– by which I mean I am fussy. It’s neither too heavy nor too small, nor too large. The binding is such that it is not hard to keep open while you write. It has some beautiful graphics that make the pages pretty and lines that make the pages functional. It was the perfect gift– but of course the much bigger gift– the one that really matters, came years ago, just about 10 to be exact.