I’m what you could call an emotional runner.
Give me an idea or thought and I could run with it faster and further than Gump. It could be a positive idea or a negative one. It could be small or large. No matter. It’s what my mind does. It runs.
Two days ago, Meeks and I came home from our Daytime Beach Date. I wanted some time away with just Husband now, 5 weeks before Little B comes, 5 weeks before the proverbial shit hits the fan.
When we got home from our Daytime Beach Date, our sneaky, slippery dogs ran out the front door of our apartment and ran down 4 floors to welcome Meeks and I me home. We decided to take the family for a walk. I guess technically, Olive and Jersey decided it but whatever.
As I bumbled around with the dog leashes I heard Husband say, “I’m officially a dad.”
I looked over and he had Rafa on his shoulders. I couldn’t decide what was cuter: Rafa’s ferocious smile and gleeful laugh that freely emptied from her belly OR Husband’s idea of what it means to be a dad. Once in a while, you catch a glimpse of who someone is by little crumbs they unknowingly leave for you. This was one of Husband’s telling moments. I can’t say I much disagree. I vaguely remember when my dad could no longer hold me on his shoulders – devastating. Blocked from memory. Carrying your kid on your shoulders does make you a dad.
Walking down our street, I couldn’t help but stare at Rafa. She’s gorgeous. Perfect little ringlets of dark hair, dancing eyes that are deep with curiosity and happiness, perfect porcelain doll face – gorgeous. And when she laughs, she’s mesmerizing. I could truly watch her for hours discovering, playing, interested, flirting, waving at everyone as they walk by. She lives in the now and enjoys everything, the smallest of moments that might seem inconsequential to anyone else. And I know she enjoys it because she doesn’t hide a single thing. All her emotions are there to experience. The good, the bad, and the ugly.
And as I watched her, myself almost tripping every few seconds on the crooked sidewalks of Santo Domingo, it occurred to me that I’ll never have this moment or these moments again.
And my mind began to run.
Before I know it, she won’t be this small baby that gets excited with every new word she is able to say or every time we understand what she wants because of her building vocabulary. She will be a toddler, talking so much we’ll have wished we never taught her words. And after that, she’ll be a kid. A real kid that goes to school and has friends and other interests that don’t involve opening and closing closet doors, kitchen drawers, or bins of nicely folded clothes. Then, a teenager. If you don’t mind I’d rather skip thinking about this phase. Next, a mini adult. Off to college, work, architecting her future in whatever road she chooses to walk down.
As Husband asked me when I ranted this projection the other day, “Have you literally skipped ahead 20 years?”
Yes I have.
And I’m not skipping ahead. I’m running.
Because 20 years is the blink of an eye in dog years. Faaaaast.
Two years ago we had just found out that we were pregnant with Rafaella. Three years ago, the thought of her was the thought of her and no more than just a thought. Six years ago, I had just met Husband at my new teaching job…I was calling him Mr. Kaufman. Meeks would come later. 11 years ago, I was starting my final semester of college. College! College was over a decade ago. College that I just graduated – or feels like it anyway – was 11 years ago.
So yeah. Time moves fast and phases you thought would never pass, have come and gone and new phases have emerged in its place. No longer a wild child college girl but a working teacher with a serious boyfriend. No longer a girlfriend but a wife. Not just a mother anymore, but a mother of two.
Who am I?
What year is it? Sometimes I have to remember my age by the year. And sometimes I can’t remember the year.
And so I beg, please Rafa don’t grow up. Don’t get older. Don’t get jaded. Don’t get teenager nasty. Stay this adorable, with your 8 little Stitch teeth and your loud squealing every time you’re filled with so much joy that you can’t hold it in. Stay small and holdable and so very kissable because when you’re a teenager you won’t say Up.
And even if you did, I probably wouldn’t be able to lift you for very long… but I’d try.
Stay seated on daddy’s shoulders so that he could always carry you and not let your new, precious feet touch the old, dirty ground and so that we could lift you up because when you’re older you won’t need us to anymore.
And there I go again. Sorry Husband, I can’t help but run. Try to keep up.
Are you an emotional runner?