Ok. First of all just need to say thanks for all the being-there-ness and support (and yes, I would even go out on a limb and say love) I've felt over the past few days when there just didn't seem to be any light at the end of this tunnel. I am grateful. For these friends and these blogger friends who do really feel like family.
It's true, you know. After so many months (in some cases, years) we do feel like we know each others stories, homes, kids and families, really bad days... really good days. Each others lives (for anyone just popping by, this blog has been up a good long while but the content had to be deleted recently so... it looks fairly shiny and new, ha). So thanks, guys. And a special thanks to a friend who stepped up to help, you know who you are, and I am eternally thankful. Thank you.
So. Having said that, I also really want to share a phenomenon I have just encountered in a dark cafeteria. Yes.... cafeteria. I'm getting there.
If there is a word for this phenomenon, tell me what it is. I'm mystified and smiling and somewhat saddened while also feeling proud and melancholy and happy and bittersweet. And it all took place in a dark cafeteria surrounded by Batman and ghosts and fairies and Lady Gaga and scary creatures and Goldie Locks. Hmm. Can you guess where I was?
OK. I was dropping off Justice Fairy, 13 (who ironically was dressed as a fairy) at the middle school dance. Already there was my youngest, PJ, 11. She had gone home with a friend after school and "gotten ready" there, and had gone to the dance with said friend's mom before I arrived. So... while dropping off Justice Fairy, I needed to bring in PJ's green plastic leaf garlands and little bird on a wire for her Mother Nature costume... having just purchased the above-mentioned items at the dollar store, having been begged mercilessly for above-mentioned items by the girl in question... countless times... the previous day.
OK then. So I go in to bring the garlands and bird to her in the cafeteria where the dance is being held. I enter with my Fairy who brightly smiles goodbye at me and flits over to a group of friends. PJ spots me from across the room, and very slowly moseys over to me at the door (as if I want to go in any further, no thanks). By the time she gets to me, I'm surrounded by a motley half-circle of her little girl friends, all coming over to say Hi. She finally shows up and I hand her the stuff. Which she's been asking me to bring to the dance... fervently.
At that point she takes the items gingerly from me as though I were freshly arrived from the Leper Academy, and looks sort of away toward the floor. I say something short like, here's your stuff, bye, have fun, see you tomorrow (it's a sleepover for her). I'm not being grabby and huggy. Just saying "here ya go". She mumbles "thanks, uh huh" to the floor, or the wall, or both... and melts back into the circles of middle-schoolers. Huh. Ok then.... I smile on my way out. "BRINGS BACK MEMORIES HUH?" I say to the assistant principal who is sitting at the entrance door. He barely hears me but smiles back. Good sport.
Is this my kid? The same one I helped put together a rocking Mother Nature dress complete with pale pink dress, cape, stuffed yellow silk sun and moon dangles (made on my sewing machine, and which she loved) for her belt made of leaves? The same kid who beamed when I mentioned her hair was very gorgeous flowy and Shakira-esque? Who posed celebrity-style for my camera this morning and gave me a hug and kiss at the door? The same kid who asks for a hug every night at bedtime (and the occasional shared storybook just for the sake of snuggliness)?
Woah. Wow. I think I just noticed something. That kid is a middle-schooler. And subject to change without notice or warning. And of course she's going to play it cool in front of her friends when she's out in "public" (yep, the dance counts as public when you're 11 going on 12).
Well... sigh. It was definitely a life moment. She's the youngest so... I suppose I don't have many of these middle-school moments left, and I'm cherishing them. I am. I understand, I get it. I still remember those dances and telling my mom to just drop me outside, I'd be fine. Wow. Stuff sure does fly by when we're not looking, huh?
So. What's the word for this feeling? I don't know. Guess I'll give it a name.
Take care folks. Hug your kids today. Hug your pets today. Hug yourself today.
***update: when I stopped back in to the dance at pickup-time, my little Mother Nature child came running up to me. She yelled over the music, "MOMMY! MOMMY! I WON FIRST PLACE FOR THE COSTUME CONTEST AND LOOKLOOKLOOK I GOT A SUBWAY GIFT CARD!!!!!"
heh heh... yep, that's my little girl alright. :)