A lovely night with my girl

I usually write these blog posts when I’ve both found the time to do so and have a recent parenting/life struggle to share, but tonight, I just had a wonderful evening with my daughter – and I want to make sure to highlight the positives of this whole process, too. God knows that without them, no one would do this whole parenting thing.

What’s strange is that my evening began with significant frustration. Because I’m covering the Art Fairs this week, I had to park far from work and take a shuttle, so this made getting to my car far more time-consuming than usual; and then, on top of that, I got on the expressway and it was moving at a crawl. So I got on surface streets and called Joe to tell him that it appeared I wouldn’t make it to Lily’s daycare by the time they closed at six, and that he’d better try to get there instead.

By way of twisting, turning back roads, I finally got home at 6:15, and Lily – dressed in a cute little sundress she’d chosen for herself (and never worn before) this morning – gave me a big smile while seated in her high chair. She was wolfing down halved grapes, and was about to embark on some mac and cheese. 

Joe changed out of his suit and tie, and then he and I sat down to some leftover spaghetti while Lily chattered and ate. After dinner, she said, “I want to hear music.” We tried to play CDs on our increasingly messed up stereo, and then I remembered: our library runs an outdoor live music program one Wednesday night a month, and I thought tonight happened to be it for July (small town life, in some ways, totally rocks). I checked, and I was right, so we got our keys and walked to the nearby market area.

A local mommy band (The Mydols) was performing, and it was a really nice night to sit outside. (Lily loves nothing more than seeing live musicians/bands play.) The band had provided a few beach balls for the kids to play with during the show, and afterward, Lily kicked and threw the ball to a brother and sister who were a little older than her, but interested in playing nonetheless. She chased after the ball, kicked it to Joe, shared it with no problems, and when we said it was time to go, she didn’t put up a fuss.

On the way home, we saw our neighbors, who have a two year old named Michael, on the sidewalk across the street, reportedly heading to see a “gnome on a swing.” (Apparently, a gardener in our neighborhood has a bit of a sense of humor.) Lily soon said, “I want to see Michael,” and we were off to follow our neighbors on their walk. Michael and Lily even held hands as they walked, which was just about the sweetest thing I’ve ever seen.

Michael showed Lily the gnome, as well as some little turtle statues, and we strolled around the block. Michael’s mom then brought out sidewalk chalk, and Lily and Michael, on Michael’s family’s driveway, settled in to draw and color, while Joe chatted with yet another neighbor, and God help me, I just wanted to stop that moment and live in its delicious pleasantness and calm for hours on end.

Michael and Lily were soon running up and down the driveway, and then daring each other to tread on rocks that encircled some landscaping. Finally, we told Lily we needed to go, and once again, she didn’t fight us, but rather said “Goodbye, Michael” in a soft voice and let me carry her back across the street.

I changed her for bed shortly before 9 p.m., so I knew I was going to be substantially late to my one hour swimming training session. But I just couldn’t break myself away.

I’d wished I’d had a video, or even a photo, of tonight’s events. Lily’s become this gorgeous little girl – her blond hair was up in a ponytail, and the dress, white with overlapping fuschia and pale pink polka dots, couldn’t be cuter – who can be a joy to be around. It’s hard to believe this little person used to be my squalling-little-loaf-of-bread newborn.

Yes, she still can still drive us stark-raving mad at times; but getting to watch her become this funny, life-embracing, beautiful girl is a pleasure, too. I’ll take more nights like this one, please.

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