If you looked at my Facebook’s Year in Review, a neat little feature that compiled some of my biggest moments in 2013 based on the popularity of the posts, you’ll see that Pickle turned two, and we celebrated her birthday at a water park resort, my girls went to the zoo and fell asleep while holding hands on our way home in the car, Little Miss participated in a theater camp and had her theater debut in the summer, we vacationed at the Smoky Mountains, Pickle started to talk in full, sometimes hilarious, sentences, she started her first day at her sister’s school, I broke my tailbone two days before our Florida vacation, where we visited Disney for the first time as a family, Pickle finally moved to a big-girl bed in the room that she shares with her sister, Little Miss turned five and started violin lessons, and Pickle likes yogurt all over her face.
According to Facebook, that’s 2013 in a nutshell, although it did leave out the major milestones, like Pickle’s weaning and potty training at 2.5 years old, or our really special holiday celebration with their grandparents from Florida when they joined us here for Christmas festivities.
But here’s something it left out.
On the first day of our water park vacation, we kinda, sorta lost Little Miss. We walked into an enormous aquatic center, and immediately, My Guy pulled our firstborn to the side and told her, “if for some reason you get lost and you can’t find us, come back to this spot,” he pointed at the seats by the surfing area. “Tell someone that this is where you have to wait; we will come find you.”
No sooner than 30 minutes later, she went missing. She ran up the stairs to one gigantic slide and came down another, but because she changed her mind at the last minute, I waited at the one from which she said she would appear, except 10 minutes later, she still hadn’t emerged. The slides started three stories high and intricately snaked around the compound, and with so many kids in line, it was difficult for me to find her.
I finally went to the surfer’s area after 10 minutes of searching and there she was, crying next to a lifeguard who was trying to console her, grateful that, of all the times she didn’t listen to us, this wasn’t one of them. After this incident, we kept a closer watch and she always came down the same slide on which she said she was going. Lesson learned; heartbeat restored.
Here’s something else you wouldn’t find on Facebook.
One summer’s night, when the girls were already in bed but not sleeping, when the light finally acquiesced to the dark as evening found its way to the end of our day, I spontaneously decided that it was time to catch some fireflies. With an earlier-than-most bedtime at 7:30, the girls were often asleep in the summer even before the sun went down, so when would they ever get the chance to catch fireflies? Isn’t that a quintessential childhood summer thing? Bedtime be damned. We had childhood memories to make!
I grabbed a mason jar from the kitchen cupboard and went into their bedroom, “Girls, get up. Let’s catch some fireflies.”
At first, they were puzzled – this has never happened before – but they ran out with me eventually, in their pajamas, armed with a mason jar and girlish delight. We spotted countless fireflies in the park right by our building, and Pickle was just as smitten by the moon, which was rather evasive in the summer months to little girls with a pre-dusk bedtime.
“Mommy! Look! It’s the moon!!!” she exclaimed, over and over.
We caught and released a few (fireflies, not the moon), and the girls giggled and squealed, unable to contain their excitement of doing something unexpected, something that felt a little naughty, like breaking a rule for leaving their beds at bedtime.
On our way back, Little Miss announced, “This is the best thing we ever did!”
To this day, of all the adventures we had this summer, this stood out for me, even though the moment never made its way to Facebook or the blog. I now feel it needs to be encapsulated, as I hope this will be the first of many sparks along their childhood where they remember us being there to share in their wonder, their sheer, unadulterated joy. Because I felt it too.
But there were many more moments that were left out of the public domain.
Early morning snuggles with the family, late-night conversations with My Guy, and several amazing dates with him, like our first time at Lollapalooza together – his birthday present to me –in lovely, temperate, 75-degree weather when it was normally 95 in August. There, I saw The Postal Service perform for the first time, something I never thought possible because they were only a side-project band that came together to record one album, which happens to be one of my favorites, about ten years ago, and My Guy made this moment happen, knowing how much it meant to me.
There, we also listened to our song, “Slow Show”, being performed on stage by The National, another favorite of mine, while he held me in his arms as these words stirred magic in the air around us:
“You know I dreamed about you
For 29 years before I saw you;
You know I dreamed about you
I missed you for, for 29 years.”
Those words struck me when I first heard it because that’s when I met My Guy, when I was 29 years old, and it felt like I hadn’t felt truly alive until I met him.
Everything wasn’t perfect and smooth-sailing since we met, of course, but that’s what makes our journey so real and so utterly amazing to me. That we’re still here, nearly nine years later, in spite of it all, with each year better than the last.
While every big moment - good or bad - has taught us something about ourselves or, at the very least, brought us much joy, they haven’t all made it to this blog. Or Facebook. Nor are they all going to. It’s a little sad, knowing that I won’t remember everything years from now, but honestly, I am just happy to be living these moments with my family in the first place, however lovely or imperfect, ordinary or extraordinary.
2013, no, life has been good to me, and I am immeasurably grateful.
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Happy new year, my dear friends! May 2014 bring you much love, peace, and joy.