Yesterday was a beautiful day, so I got out of work earlier and went home to take my little sister to the park. I almost never have the time to do it before it’s dark, and my mom can’t be counted on for any kind of physical activity. I picked Evelyn (sister) up at the daycare, and we headed to the park. The look on her little face was just so rewarding. I had failed to notice how much she’s been growing. Ok, maybe I chose not to notice, because I was afraid that my baby would no longer love me when she became older. Then maybe love is not the word I’m looking for; I was probably afraid that my presence would no longer be required on a regular basis. My fears were confirmed when I told her that she was beautiful and that I loved her very much for being courageous and trying new toys on her own, and I heard, “You said that already, Mana.” She had a look on her face that made me feel so out of style, and I wondered … when did I stop being cool?
I spent almost an hour just tagging along, ready to catch her if she fell, dying on the inside every time she went up those dangerous ladders. But she’s not the chicken that I was when I was little, and she did just fine. Part of me was proud of her, part of me wanted her to cry for help. When I grabbed her basket of toys and there was a little spoon that didn’t belong to her, she yelled, “Mana, did you take this spoon?? You can’t take other kids’ stuff!” My baby who was just the other day learning how to say her own name is now giving me moral lessons she thinks I deserve. Again, I was proud of her, but part of me was scared that she was already so conscious. And just when I thought I was no longer necessary, she decided to try a more dangerous toy, and said: “Mana, I want you to come with me and hold my hand.” Me: “Well, ok, but my hands are cold.” Her: “It’s ok, mine are cold, too.”
I don’t think I’d ever felt so … needed.