6 Scenes from 7 Days- Airport Kisses

Oliviatangle

Airport Kisses

She is a tangle of long legs and curly red hair as she comes flying toward me . Her image steadies and the happiness on Olivia’s glowing face is unmistakable. I reach out, scooping her into a hug. Her small hands are brushing the hair away from my face and behind my ear. I feel her soft shallow breath against my cheek. Her first kiss lands close to my chin, the second on the tip of my nose. I brush my lips with hers and fill her face with tiny kisses.

I hold her close as I try to reconcile where the years have gone.. She will be five soon and today she seems like a new child and not the preschooler I left behind five days ago. I put her down and we begin to walk hand-in-hand. We are walking at a leisurely pace, but my thoughts run quickly. Has my absence refreshed my perspective?. Is this who she has been all along? Or has she matured in these five days- blossomed under her father’s care?

As we move through the continuatiion of our trip,together as a family, I see more.

I see a new constant confidence- as she places her hands on her hips and flings her hair over her shoulder . She offers fresh insightful four -year -old ideas in moments of family discussion and indecision.

She moves through our itinerary with an adventurous spirit of independence- understanding what is expected of her and enjoying the freedom of change and her ability to accomplish tasks without reminders.

She exhales her emotion with each breath- delight, dissatisfaction, anxiety, her desires.She communicates effectively.

She exhibits her intelligence as she responds to logic and reason. Explanations of why our plans have changed on this trip. How playtime outside and dinner in a new fun restaurant have been replaced with an efficient mealtime and a long car drive back to the hotel due to an unexpected illness.

She still comes to me for care and affection but regards her father differently. She smiles at him like before, but her eyes radiate a new light. More frequently it is his approval she seeks and his time she wants to share. I believe that in these five days they spent together he gave her a very special gift of love. A gift that I did not think to give her, that I didn’t realize she needed. New independence, a gift that was long overdue.

Check back soon for 5 more scenes from our 7 day trip......


Z12z13_1

My Sister

My sister is my heart.
She opens doors to rooms
I never knew were there,
Breaks through walls
I don't recall building.
She lights my darkest corners
With the sparkle in her eyes. -
Lisa Lorden
.

They are sisters. Content with their differences in their pretend play world. Olivia kneels next to Zoe. I watch them from my seat at the dining room table. Their heads bent , Olivia’s red ringlets next to Zoe’s fine blonde hair, they huddle together in concentration. Olivia leads her in play, and Zoe responds with delight, filling the space with laughter.

In their play world, they take “ trips” to hotels -Princess bags packed with necessities. Blankets and pillows hauled to their "destination.". Zoe crawls into her  pretend“bed” while Olivia tucks the blanket around her and sings her a goodnight lullabye.

As sisters do, they kiss and hug ,and argue over their favorite toys. They compete for my attention.

When Zoe was first born, 20 months following Olivia, I felt as if I was a mother to twins. Two demanding babies. I imagined they would be alike as they grew, that they would share a bedroom, a playroom. For some reason I saw them as intertwined and not as the daughters they should be, different and unique to one another.

As Zoe grew and her delays became obvious, I was thankful for Olivia’s ability to teach her sister, to lead by example.Olivia shares her unending energy as she sings, and jumps and leads her sister in dance. Sometimes, my husband and I consider Olivia’s ability to empathize and care for her sister. We question whether this will be a role for Olivia in some far off  adult future.

For today, I see them as what they are . Sisters. I see them teach one another. Olivia teaching Zoe to play, leading her in song and adventures and yes, even leading her into toddler like trouble. I see Zoe guiding Olivia, the shy one, in social situations as Zoe is the one to first greet a stranger with a smile and say hi. I see Zoe teaching Olivia to hug and kiss – more often. I see Zoe's social eagerness reassuring her sometimes shy, anxious big sister.

I see them each with their own heart opening doors for one another.


Footsteps

I am hovering like all mother's do. Practically bent in half, my long body is close to the ground. Trying to match the height of my almost three year old, Zoe. I am behind her.

As I have been taught, I don't touch her. She knows I am there but I am not allowed to give her the extra security of my touch. I hover with my hands in air- I will catch her if her balance reactions fail. She is learning to use her forearm crutches, and it takes almost all of her energy to manage her tiny steps into coordinated movement with her crutches.

We are walking the short path that leads to our front door. It is perhaps ten feet in distance and I am sure, has been traveled by hundreds of footsteps. Hurried footsteps, slow and leisurely footsteps. Footsteps born from strong legs with healthy muscles.

A hummingbird crosses our path. As Zoe moves her eyes from her feet to the bird, the rapid shift in vision causes her to lose her balance. We stop to watch the hummingbird as it dives into the trumpet vine. It finds a place to perch and begins to sing. Zoe is delighted as I am sure she believes the impromptu concert is for her. She giggles and the bird stays.

In these few feet Zoe has walked hundreds of tiny steps but for our family she has run a mile. I watch Zoe as she begins to hum. She radiates pure joy.

It is not the act of nature she is celebrating but her independence. She is learning to walk. As she continues down the path she sings. Even though she is struggling, she finds peace. And for this simple blessing I am grateful.

For more about my journey with Zoe..Download edited2amothersinstinct_2.doc