I took you back to school on Monday for the first time in almost a month. I was dreading it a little bit, both because I was strangely emotional about saying goodbye to you for the whole day and because I wasn’t sure how you would handle the transition. You strode into that building like you owned the place, and you were immediately greeted by the school director, who exclaimed how happy she was to see you back after such a long absence. “Did you go somewhere special?” she asked. You said nothing; there were more important things to discuss first. You held up a water-filled globe for her to inspect. Wordlessly, you shook the globe, and the Moana figure in the center was surrounded by floating sparkles. And, with a flourish, you pressed a little button that made the globe erupt into song. As “We Know The Way” echoed through the hall, you let the awed crowd gather round to greet you and admire your treasure. You swelled with pride. I did not have to worry about you that day.
It has been several months since I last wrote to you directly. So much has happened! You started school in the big-kid classroom, you got seven stitches in the fourth toe on your left foot, and on that same day, you discovered Moana. Moana might actually be the most significant life-event of 2018. If there was any doubt in your parents’ minds, the Christmas gifts you received from grandparents and aunts and uncles only confirmed that perhaps everyone else saw this more clearly than we did. I look at you and remember myself draped in The Little Mermaid morning, noon and night when I was just a little older than you are now.. I am so glad that you have a fictional world that you love to be in that much.
This is the most fun I have had being your mom in these last three years: this part where I am learning about who you are as a person, not just how to manage your needs. That’s still there, but it’s taking more and more of a backseat to your independence. You love reading stories, you love spinning stories of your own about Moana and ballerina school, and you love spinning around in circles until you fall down even more. You love carousels (a trend, perhaps?) and you love high-fiving whoever is holding out a hand when you come around. You love toys that allow you to build other realities. Bristle blocks can be anything from a bed with a night stand for your Lego people (that was your mom’s brainwave, by the way) to an ice-cream-cone with 20 flavors. You are very concerned when other people are hurt or sick, especially Mom and Dad, and you always need to know why. You have a kind and empathetic heart, and I admire you for it.
And on that note, how did you not fall prey to the debilitating 24-hour stomach flu that sent both your parents straight to bed? After all, you were the one who touched literally everything and even lay down on several floors that I did not consider sufficiently clean. You are some kind of wonder when it comes to traveling. Yes, we took you to Paris for fifteen days. I worried about many things, and most people agreed that my worries were prudent. “I always traveled with a nanny when my kids were little,” one person said. “Yeah, you just shouldn’t take little kids to Paris,” another said. In the end, all of the things that worried me - jet lag , bathroom scarcity, limited availability of all the things we are used to at home - turned out to be no big deal for you. The only night you had real trouble sleeping was the first night we spent in our AirBnb, and all it took was for a little snuggle in your bed with a couple of books for you to settle in, play quietly, and eventually put yourself back to sleep. Your dad and I struggled to get on a schedule for far longer than you did. And when we got home, you went right to bed, slept until 8 AM the next morning, and proceeded to slot right back into your usual schedule. It was like we’d just gone to New Jersey, for all it seemed to affect you.
Watching you skip into school the other day and watching the excitement with which everyone greeted you made me proud of you and excited for what you have coming in life. You love and you are loved. You love adventure, and you love familiarity, too. Taking you out of your routine was exhilarating and fun, and helping you settle back into it feels just right. I’m glad we’re home, and I can’t wait to do it again.