This was Mo’s first year at Vacation Bible School (all the way on the right). As a newly minted three year old, she was one of the youngest to go. I dropped her off at the beginning of the week with high hopes and higher expectations. I was sure she’d come home praising God and explaining to me in great detail all the fun things she did.
Side note: this is the first real activity she’s done without me around. The beginning of “18 years of letting go” as a friend recently told me. I was terrified. She would have experiences that I knew nothing about, that I would have to ask her to explain and try to piece together. Normally I have context. Normally I’m there. It’s strange to have the perspective that everyone who’s not her mom (so, everyone) has every day.
So, I pick her up from the first day, excited and anticipating great things!
“Mo! I’m so happy to see you! Did you have fun?”
“What did you do?”
“I don’t know. Pwayed outside.”
“Did you learn anything?”
“No. I did not. I did not yearn my yetters.”
“Oh, Mo bug. VBS is about learning about God! Did you learn anything about God?”
Reality check. She’s three. Just barely three. Hold your horses there Mama. It’s ok if it’s not sinking in. It’s hard to absorb information! She was overstimulated by all the kids (200 of them!), music, decorations and just All. The. Things! Every day was similar. She’d mostly want to cuddle, maybe be a little irritable, and then take a giant nap when we got home.
(Not gonna lie, it was nice to be missed. The extra hugs and cuddles and hand-holds. Andy, is this what it feels like every time you come home and Mo leaps into your arms yelling “Daddy! I missed you!”?)
Despite her adamant refusal that she had learned anything, I’d catch her singing songs under her breath.
Hawawooya Hawawooya we’re going to see the king…
Hoewee, hoewee, hoewee. We cwied Hoewee, hoewee, hoewee…
Say say, say you bewieve it…
I’d pick it up, and we’d sing together. A light would shine in her eyes.
I watched at the end of each day as she sang and danced, and oh! she danced! Right out there in front, with all her heart. Sometimes stopping to watch the choreagraphed movements of the other kids, but mostly just dancing from her soul.
Today, as we got home late, rushed to get lunch and start naps before the thirtieth breakdown of the day, Mo was chatting to herself at the table. I looked over from my busy-ness and she had her little head bowed and her hands clasped.
“Mumble mumble, Amen. In the name of the Father, the Son and the Hoewee Spirit. Amen.”
“Were you praying Love Bug? What did you say?”
She bowed her head again, “God, you are always with me. Amen. In the name of the Father, the Son and the Hoewee Spirit, Amen.”
My breath caught and tears came to my eyes.
“Yes, Love. He is. Always.”
Then she pointed to her half eaten carrots, “This is a boy and this is a girwl. They are fwends!”
And that’s what it’s like to be three. Profound. Deep. And fleeting.
Also, there’s nothing like Vacation Bible School to remind you that your child can, indeed, wear the same shirt five days in a row and be just fine.
Or in my case, perhaps that’s an indicator that I should do laundry a little more often…
Photography note: The first photo is why I’m saving up for a new lens! So much noise! Flash would have been inappropriate, shutter speed was as slow as possible considering the moving kids, ISO at 3200, and my aperture was wide open. Anyone have a suggestion for low-light situations, besides saving up a thousand bucks for a better lens?
This deeply touched me, Caitlin. Bittersweet and wonderful and an owie to the heart.
Whoever told you the beginning of 18 years. ROTFL! Tears running down my cheeks! Oh, if ONLY there was an end of letting go at 18 years! What a sweet dream that would be. Ask your mom when she truly let go and never felt you girls were having experiences she knew nothing about, that she would (could?!) ask y’all to explain and try to piece together – especially when your beloved kids are hurt or angry.
“Normally I have context. Normally I’m there. It’s strange to have the perspective that everyone who’s not her mom (so, everyone) has every day.”
Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy. The years will fly and you will be totally peripheral to her life. Which is why you’re raising her so carefully – so that you can be peripheral and she can function beautifully without you. Your mom did a fabulous job! And you will, too. But as for the reality check of 18 years?! Not true. You never, ever stop caring about your babies and how they are doing. At least it happens day by day instead of all at once. That would be beyond the beyond. Sounds like she had a ball at VBS! Some day, ask me how to get details of a kid’s day.
Sinking In This e-mail is so precious. Monica is a darling little girl. This brought tears just reading it. Thank you so much for sharing.Love you all, Gm. Frances
Date: Fri, 12 Jul 2013 22:29:55 +0000 To: email@example.com