Friday, November 14, 2014

Twenty Months

Her hair smells of soy and ginger, with two antenas slicked up in random spots on her head, the product of juicy hands coming through her locks as she finished her ample bowl of stir fry at lunch.

Her mullet is impressive these days, with curls in the back that must be swept the side in order to button up her shirt, while the front is nowhere close to covering her ears, nor blocking her vision. Curtis would love to cut it, to even it out somehow. I wouldn't dream of it. As much as there is nothing I can do to make the front grow faster, there is no way I could force myself to snip off the subtle feminine curls in the back--a bit of my daughter that resembles me, even as her face and eyes remind many of her many other relatives. 

She runs with a quick turnover and a purposeful stride, one that has been noted by fellow friends and fellow running coaches alike. We are asked often about her future athletic pursuits, the result of living in a small town where her father's athletic victories of decades prior will undoubtedly hover in the back of minds when people size up my little girl. 

For now, at all of twenty months, her stamina is impressive for her age and her size. For now, we comment on her massive appetite every morning: 1 cup of full fat plain yogurt, 1 full banana, 1 cup of dry oatmeal, prepared with pureed pumpkin, chia seeds, a splash of maple syrup. I don't eat nearly that much for breakfast, and I'm learning that my days of sharing a large serving of lunch or dinner are gone as well. If I don't prepare two full servings for the two of us, I'm likely giving up my own. 

Yet, if my time as a parent has taught me anything so far, it's that (nearly) all will change in time. While her love for movement and determination are two traits that have held true since birth, sleep patterns and appetites and chosen activities waver as she develops. For now, I cherish this little person she has become, even as she grows and changes every day. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

An Ordinary Day

       A couple weeks ago: one of the last kayak outings of the season...

Today, my daughter brought me a cutting board, and asked for an "appy" (think "Happy", without the initial "h" sound, or as it might be spoken by one of the chorus members in "My Fair Lady"). Her vocabulary has exploded as of late, and now includes words in addition to "uh oh" "puppy" "da-da" and a rudimentary form of thank you. While those four words are functional in their own right, I must admit I was happy when she remembered how to say "ma ma" after nearly a year hiatus. It's also encouraging when my child sees a nine-foot stuffed brown bear (as are displayed prominently around town in everywhere from the local high school to the customer service section of Walmart), and no longer calls it a puppy. 

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Today, I played capture the flag with a couple dozen elementary students at a running camp with which I am assisting. So many personalities come out when you play this classic game of conquest. You have the kid that bolts out, caution to the wind, only to be captured quickly--his ego only temporarily deflated--and ready to bolt in the same fashion when he inevitably freed. You have the kid that dances back and forth across the line, doing the ten-year-old version of a touch down celebration, retreating quickly and safely to his side the moment he's threatened. You also have the character who shows little to no interest in the game--until she realizes that no one noticed when she ventured into enemy territory, precisely because she looks so incredibly disinterested. In the end, the most amusing moment to me was when the local high school track star--who is humble and unassuming, but also nationally ranked and heavily recruited by colleges nationwide--broke into a full sprint in the midst of making an escape. One of the fifth grade boys, glowing in his good luck of being on the same team as this super star, looked up at him as he crossed the line of safety and proclaimed, "You are really fast."

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Today, I watched the rain wash across the glass while sun caught the drops in flashes of light. I held my daughter up to the window and we watched the small movements of white rabbit on the edge of our yard for a while.

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Today, a friend lost her unborn child a few weeks shy of her anticipated due date. There was no warning, just the reality of a child that was no longer alive--a child that must still be delivered, and a body that will tell the tale of a child that lived for eight short months inside, for months after.

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At the end of the day, when the baby is tucked in and I have a few moments to sit in quiet, I can be overwhelmed with all the moments packed into an ordinary day: simple joy, unimaginable anguish, juvenile amusement, quiet appreciation. I have my plans; sometimes they succeed. I am grateful for the beautiful; I am thankful for grace present in the dark. And  some days I feel I have no choice but to rest in the hope that tomorrow there will be grace for each moment as well.