Rachel This Summer

by cecimadden


If I don’t write this down, I’m afraid I’ll forget.

We are having a magical summer.

I cannot believe how much you are growing and changing and becoming a very real small person.  I cannot believe how much you know and how much you can do. 

What are we doing this summer?  Making new friends, eating frozen treats, making and breaking routines, singing along to songs, trying (and sometimes liking) new foods, drinking our weight in Capri Sun.  Among many other things.

I’m tickled at times by the things you say. You are a very good conversationalist. I’m amazed by your inflection and tone.  “You thirsty, mom?  How is your ice tea? I’m drinking water.”  Sometimes I’m taken aback by your thoughtfulness and curiosity.  Despite your little voice, you sound so mature.

Two bigger examples: Recently we were at a cookout…Fourth of July, I think…and you sat in a room filled with old friends, some newer friends, and a handful of people we might call strangers except for the great time we were currently having.  Maybe a dozen people all together.  You took the floor (as the spotlight so easily shifts toward you) and you pointed to each person, calling them by name, “Emily, Uncle Iowa, Lisa…” and so on, and we all marveled at this exercise of remembering.  Then, you finished naming everyone and declared in a speech-making voice: “These are all our friends.”  So true.

Even more recently, we hosted friends for brunch, a couple expecting their first child this winter.  After talking about baby stuff and silly pieces of parenting advice, you interrupted and said, “Laura is a mother, and Mike is a dad…just like my dad.”  I’m not sure, but it might have been the first time anyone called them a mother and a dad, and it was certainly sentimental.

You are emphatic, so sure of what you say…even if it’s made up.  “We’re not having pizza tonight, Rachel.  Let’s have pizza tomorrow,” I’ll tell you.  “Not tomorrow, TO-NOW,” you respond. 

“More ice cream?” you ask.  “No way, Jose,” dad will say.  Then you look at him with your big brown eyes and say, “Yes Jose?”

We don’t just make up words anymore. We make up entire scenarios, and I love this pretend-play phase.  We go shoe shopping in the living room.  We build snow men there too, then head “inside” to the back hallway for hot cocoa.  When I can’t get you into the bath we pretend we’re in a fancy salon and I wash your hair as you stand on your stool in front of the mirror.  We get water all over the floor, but who cares.  When you’re trying to fall asleep we sometimes pretend to blow bubbles together.  The little ones pop quickly on your tummy and your arms.  The bigger ones pop on your knees, your eyelids, your forehead, gently, slowly, until you drift off to sleep.

Your hair, Rachel.  Your hair is getting looong.  You have many “looks” now, thanks to one of your preschool teachers.  Pigtails, a braid, a sweet, rolled up bun.  I never know what to expect and am always pleasantly surprised.

Some things we can always agree on: ice cream, water ice, berries from the garden; The Violent Femmes and Prince; your purple shirt with a blue skirt.  That one’s always a winning combination.

We are savoring this summer- the time with dad on break from school, the long hours of sunlit sky, and all the heat-beating treats we can stomach.  I watch you eat your water ice: You use a straw and a spoon, to guarantee you’ll get every bit of slushy goodness, and it reminds me that there are a lot of things that you will teach yourself how to do in this life.  I am grateful for that and kind of in awe.  Of all the things I’m responsible for teaching you, from using a potty, to being selfless and kind-hearted, I can go ahead and scratch off the list: the perfect way to eat water ice without spilling or missing any of the good parts.  That one you’ve got down pat without my help.  And I’m sure there will be others along the way.

We are having a magical summer, Rachel.  I don’t ever want to forget it.  I want you to know how lucky we all are.