Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Shall I Compare Thee To A Summer's Day?

It's almost over. This weekend is Labor Day (when David and I met eight years ago, by the by) and then our first summer with Jarrah will come to a close. Strangely, I feel a bit sentimental about this. It seems soon to be nostalgic, but we had a lot of "firsts"--trips to the beach, swims in the pool, ice cream cones, visits to Legoland, running naked in the sprinklers, starring in a movie--and, you know, they say it's never as good as the first time. ;)

We hit another milestone this weekend when my parents, one of the two sets of doting grandparents Jarrah is blessed with, watched Jarrah for an entire day while David and I went to Santa Monica to see the Troubadours, an annual event for us and one that Jarrah is not quite ready for. Readers, I wasn't just nervous about this, I was freaked out. The night before, I could barely sleep. Not because I doubted my parents would do a bang-up job of looking after their youngest granddaughter, but more because I felt certain she would scream dementedly for hours and that would mark the first and last offer of this nature from Grandma and Grandpa.

I warned my parents, several times, that Jarrah is prone to extreme separation anxiety right now, and doesn't even like it when I go to the bathroom without her. I also described how she is taking after her mother in the area of dramatic aspirations, and relishes an opportunity to stand on a doorstep with both arms extended to the heavens, fingers curling into fists, head thrown back and throat open to express the depths of scorn and cruelty our departure represents to her.

Her diaper bag (the big one) was stocked to the hilt with comforting snacks, favorite books and videos, toys, and anything I could think of that might soothe her fevered brow in our absence. Throughout our lunch together and the initial preparations for a refreshing swim in the backyard, I was brimming with trepidation to the point of tears. My mother had suggested we sneak away casually when Jarrah got in the pool, since she'd be at peak distraction. I agreed, and still saw disaster looming on the horizon. I expected a frantic phone call before we'd even hit the freeway.

Readers, I'm sure you can see where this is going, since I've totally frontloaded the narrative. David and I had a lovely day with very little traffic and lots of singing, dancing, hooting, hollering and a bit of iambic pentameter. When we arrived breathless back at my parents' door around five hours later, my mother opened it before we could knock (uh-oh?) and said: "What an incredibly sweet baby you have." Huh? We rushed past her to find Jarrah ensconced in her high chair, enjoying a lavish repast of many homemade courses. She seemed hardly to register our entrance. There were no smiles, no hugs, no tears of relief.

"She hasn't cried all day," my mother reported. Wha? Not even when we left? Nope. She'd been swimming (twice), to the park, and savored her first Ben and Jerry's. She'd sung songs and watched videos with my dad. She had apparently eaten halibut (?), lentil casserole (??) and green beans (???) with gusto. She'd been agreeable and cheerful without interruption. "Every moment of your day must be so much fun," my mother gushed. Whose child were they speaking of, exactly?

Harumph. Was I relieved? Immensely. Grateful? Yes. Jealous? A smidge, but I am learning to let go of the ego in the way I've been instructed by so many other mothers now.

The summer is winding down. Goodbye, summer. This week we have an open house for Jarrah's new preschool and our last "My Gym" visit as a "Waddler." (I don't make these names up, people.) When September comes, we'll be schoolin' it and stepping up as a "Gymster." We'll be back at music class, and now Jarrah knows how to sit in a circle...sometimes. Jarrah will have a new doctor and David a new office. And as for me? We'll see. I'll keep you posted.

Autumn adventures await.

5 comments:

Cheri said...

I'm glad Jarrah had a good time with her grandparents. Grandparents are very fun.
~Laura

Great story.
~Cheri.

Anonymous said...

Hopefully, YOU will have a new writing class - hint, hint... ;)
Best, Gail

Anonymous said...

I'm glad that your summer with Jarrah was fun enough to leave you feeling nostalgic for all the firsts. Just think of all the fun autumn firsts on the way, too -- pumpkin patches and trick or treating make for great baby memories.:)

~Caroline

Mary and Paul said...

What a beautiful entry.

Do you think we will be nostalgic for the cranky days at some point, too? (Just had one of those.)

XOXOX

Mary

Anonymous said...

Waddler! so cute. :) Liz