Why Grown-up is Glamorous (When You’re Five)

IMG_0902“I can’t wait to be a grown-up!” H exclaims.

“Really?” I ask. “Um… Why?”

I can’t imagine what I do that looks so freaking exciting. Sometimes, I’d much rather be coloring, or dressing up in a Disney Princess costume, tiara and light-up “glass” slippers and twirling aimlessly around the living room.

“Because grown-ups get to eat at the raw bar,” H says. She covers her mouth with one hand before adding, quietly, “And say fresh words!”

“And grown-ups get to stay up late,” S chimes in.

They don’t yet know that “late” is only about 30 seconds after they’re tucked in (for the third time) snugly into their beds, and that I barely managed to stay awake through dinner. They also don’t know that “Sleep” with a capital S – hell, a capital everything – has been seriously overdue on my grown-up to-do list for, oh, let’s say the last five years 😉

I won’t tell them that staying up late – and grown-up-ness, in general – isn’t quite as glamorous as it looks. That, while I wouldn’t trade the life I have for anything, at the moment, I’m up to my ears. Multitasking. Worrying about loved ones. About health, safety, sanity, balance, finding my way. Making it all work. Wondering if I’m not doing it right. Learning not to worry about others who think I’m not doing it right. Channeling the positive and learning to let go of the negative: in myself, and in others in spite of myself.

Yes, that glitter glue and finger-paint is sounding better by the minute.

I know there will be some point, years from now, where my girls will miss these days, or at least the simplicity of them. Right now, it’s my job to protect (and enjoy) the innocence I wish we could all hold onto for a little (or maybe a lot) longer.

As if I have a chance of convincing them that being a grown-up isn’t cool. If they could, they’d be using my grown-up “powers” to watch every episode ever made of Jake and the Neverland Pirates in a row, buy every Ariel doll that exists for minimal scene interruption during imaginative play, and put powdered sugar and sprinkles on every variety of breakfast food. Just to start.

“You’re a grown-up. You can do whatever you want,” one of them always reminds me. Usually when I’m reminding them we CAN’T do something.

I have no idea where they get this from. Things I’m sure I’ve passed along include: “That’s NOT appropriate.” “That’s NOT acceptable behavior.” And, unfortunately, on occasion, “Oh crap.” However, they most often like to tell me whenever I say it (instead of something worse) that it is NOT appropriate and NOT acceptable.

I’m fairly certain I’ve never reacted to anything by saying, “I’m a grown-up. I can do whatever I want.” But since I’m just in that kind of mood today, I’m going to go with it. I’ll follow up this morning’s not-so-successful good intentions with a cupcake from Crumbs Bake Shop. Just because I can.

Yes, sometimes being a grown-up has its perks. Thanks, girls.

Faith, Trust and Pixie Dust in an Upside-down World

IMG_0550I haven’t blogged in a few weeks, so with a loving push from family and friends, I set out to just write already. But before I could decide how to pick up where I left off, the news broke from our neighboring town of Sandy Hook that made writing anything else feel insignificant and meaningless.

My husband and I were celebrating the holidays at H and S’s preschool on Friday morning, holding them on our laps, singing Christmas and Hanukah songs. As the unthinkable tragedy and its impact unfolded, I was lucky and grateful to have my two little girls in my arms. And my heart ached for the moms and dads who couldn’t in that moment – and especially the ones that had yet to learn they wouldn’t ever.

I can’t stop thinking about those little kids, how their daily lives were probably not so unlike my own daughters’. Filled with wonder over where the Elf on the Shelf might land each morning, counting on their fingers (and toes) how many days are left until Christmas. Singing “Jake and the Neverland Pirates” songs while coloring at (and sometimes ON) the kitchen table. Pretending the bubbles in the bath are piles of pixie dust that Tinker Bell gave them to fly. Learning their first dance steps, showing off moves that might mean to be cartwheels. Hanging off their beds, giggling wildly, fearlessly, yelling, “Mommy! Look at me! I’m upside-down!”

And then there are the quieter things I can’t help focusing a little extra on. Christmas dresses set out on top of each of the girls’ dressers, waiting to be tried on. Two baskets of laundry I haven’t found time to put away in the last (couple of) week(s.) Lying on top: H’s favorite “feet pajamas” with polar bears on them that she strongly insists are sheep. A yellow “S” written backwards on the wall next to guess-who’s-bedroom, and a blue one on the way downstairs to the playroom: evidence of pride for her most favorite letter. The mess of toys that I complain about, scattered across the living room floor. The Ariel doll whose hair has been carefully combed and twisted into an almost-braid and placed in Cinderella’s wedding carriage for her 5 PM wedding to Prince Eric.

This morning, while the girls were busy playing, I curled back into bed with H’s favorite blanket, that she’s been toting with her everywhere since she was able to crawl, and S’s beloved “Raffey,” a giraffe whose face she’s practically loved off, and who’s never far from her arms. It is just too painful to imagine what any of those little angels – and grown up ones, too – endured. Or what my own life would feel like if suddenly, inexplicably, my babies were no longer present in it. NO. It hurts too much to breathe.

And no matter how many times I wrap my arms around their tiny waists, bury my nose in their soft, flowing curls and inhale slowly, deeply, it is never enough.