Monday, March 5, 2012

Mirror Mirror

The memory is so clear to me: hot tears streaming down red cheeks, nose all runny and congested, screaming and kicking, the feeling that no one in the world understood why it was absolutely imperative that socks not be worn today of all days. Nobody understands me! I remember feeling that way once upon a time long ago. My Mom was the enemy and life, as I knew it, was horrible... for that moment, at least.

On Saturday, that's exactly the same emotion I saw in Alyssa's eyes. "No! No! No socks! No socks!" Clock ticking; Wiggleworms class was starting in 15 minutes; we lived 20 minutes away; shoes and coat and hat still lying in a pile at my feet; there was no way we would make it in time. "No! No! No socks! No socks!" It was the end of the world. 9:55, 9:56, 9:57... class starts at 10am. My heart sank. I start to think, it's OK to miss a class. We'll just make it up next week - twice. Yeah, maybe not. I can feel the defiance rising. Mine, not hers. "I don't like this sock anymore! I don't like this sock anymore!" I think I'm about to explode, but I manage to take a deep breath.

Somewhere, a light bulb goes off. I hold out my arms to the little one standing in the corner, face all red, eyes wet with tears, nose drippy with "snozzies." I hear myself say, "Come here, baby, it's OK." And just like that, it's over. Alyssa comes running to me, so hard and fast that she knocks the wind out of me. That's OK, too. She's not crying anymore. She's also forgotten why she started crying in the first place. I soothe her and wipe the tears away. I talk to her in a low, slow, soothing voice. "We're going to see Ann Marie. We're going to play with the instruments, and see your friend Jasmine, and catch bubbles!" She's nodding her head now, looking at me with the biggest brown eyes I've ever seen. "So let's get going, OK? We've got to blow our nose, fix our piggy-tails, and put our (deep breath) socks on." Nothing but a silent nod. Life is good and I feel like I've come full circle from long ago.

Mommy's brown eyed girl

Alyssa's P.S.
It's not easy being two and a half. Most of the time Mommy and Daddy get me. But sometimes, it's just so hard to tell them what I need. Mommy always says, "Use your words." But I don't know what words to use. Sometimes I hope against hope that she'll read my mind, like she used to do when I was a little baby. If I cried she came to feed me, or change me, or hold me. She just knew back then. Now, I have to use my words. When did things change on me? Why doesn't she understand that I don't want to wear my socks because I want to see my pink toes... the toes I asked her to paint yesterday; when she held me close and whispered in my ear, "Look baby, I love your toes!"