I realize that I am completely biased here, but I think that my daughter is pretty darn special.
It isn’t just that’s she is cute (she is) or beautiful (she is) or funny (she is)
Sometimes, her wisdom confuses me, as I have to remind myself that she is, in fact, only five years old.
We have conversations that are deeper and more astute than I can have with many people my age and beyond, and she never ceases to amaze me.
This morning, she came into my bedroom while it was still dark and I was awake but under the covers.
I did not sleep well last night, stirring and stewing from 2am-4am.
The first thing she said was, “Mama, I had a nightmare. I had a dream that you went to the see the doctor and you were gone for free-thousand days.”
“What kind of doctor would I go to for three-thousand days?”
“The head doctor. Like when you went to the hospital. A worry doctor.”
And when she said this my heart shattered into free-thousand pieces.
Because she lived through my hospitalization in September, and it obviously had an impact on her and her psyche. Does she know what is wrong with me? No. Do I know what is wrong with me? Truthfully, I don’t know either.
I try not to talk about it too much with her, as I do not wish to plant any seeds, but when asked casually, she will say things like, “Yeah, people are worried about you because they tell you to eat more.”
Once I assured her that I would not be leaving her she started to talk to me about heaven.
“I miss Teddy,” she said. “I hope he is snuggling with Lucy in a tree.”
I was perplexed by this imagery, until I realized that last week I showed her the tree at my parents’ house under which we buried our precious Lucy 8 years ago. There is a headstone that reads “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”. It is a beautiful tree and it was special to visit Lucy’s grave with my little girl, but it also meant that I had to try to explain things that even I do not understand. Like death. Death scares me. So I am going to go with her image and imagine that Lucy and Teddy are snuggled in a tree. A fuchsia flowered tree that has grown to shade a precious headstone.
But, you know how five year olds are. Her brain moves too quickly for mine. As I was still pondering my own existence, she switched gears, saying, “It’s time for a play. “Who do you want to be? You can be the Princess, the Unicorn, the cavity, the tooth, the lipstick or the Royal Kitty.”
I chose the lipstick.
She is so creative.
When I picked her up from school today, we had a talk about the idea of being a tattle-tale. “What does it really mean, mommy?”
“It is when someone does something that you don’t like so you tell on them,” I tried to explain.
She paused for a moment.
“Isn’t that a good thing? Aren’t I supposed to tell you when someone is doing something wrong or dangerous?”
This kid has got me stumped.
The rest of the car ride home was spent talking about things like ice cream and her desire for me to become a “Mom-el” (a Mom Model).
“It costs a lot of money to be a Momel, though,” she warned me. “But I really want you to try, so I will dump out both of my piggy banks.”
I have no idea what she is talking about, but is that not the cutest thing ever?
And then there was tonight. By the end of the evening I was feeling deflated and she could see that on my face as I sat while she and her brother ate noodles and squealed at one another.
“Can I have a private talk with you?” she asked.
So she pulled me into the living room.
“Mom. I want to tell you something. You need to take care of yourself. You have to let dad handle some things.”
And so, I told her the truth.
“I am very tired,” I admitted. “And I want to be able to take care of myself and rest, but I feel guilty because you cry and complain when I am not spending time with you.”
And then she gave me exactly what I needed:
a big hug, a kiss on my mouth and the permission to go upstairs and rest.
As we just put her to bed for the night she brought the subject of handling things up again.
“Mom,” she was emphatic. “When you have something going on or when you need to rest, you just have to let Dad handle things. And same goes for you, Dad. When you are sick or you need a break, just let mom handle it. And if I get sick, you can both handle things and that is the most funnest.”
I hugged her and held her tight, as she stretched her body longways across mine.
“If you take care of yourself and let daddy handle things I will buy you purple earrings.“
“And Daddy. Same for you. If you let mommy handle things, I will buy you a new pair of–what are they called?–oh yeah, cufflinks. I will buy you superman cufflinks.”
I took her face into my hands.
“You are the most special human being I have ever known,” I told her, as she stroked my face gently.
There is something about this child that is extraordinary. Whether she is directing me in a strange play or asking me questions about life and our existence, she does so with such thoughtful grace.
She can sense when she is needed and always comes through.
She is five.
I love her infinitely.
Well, to be more accurate, I love her to infinity…