Two things with Grace: This week she stopped asking me to carry her to school, which is one block away. She does this funny kind of skip-gallop-prance walk while holding my hand. It made me a little sad, but after all, I’m the one who hoists her up and says, “Someday you’re going to be too big and Mommy’s not going to be able to carry you to school.” Maybe that day came. I don’t want to think about a time when she doesn’t bear hug me in her towel when I lift her out of the bath, or when she stops putting her little arms around my neck to try to get me to stay a little longer when I put her to bed, or when she no longer sighs a sleepy breath when I climb in next to her and hold her hand, her tiny fingers curling around mine.
Last night, as we were cleaning out drawers of clothes she’s outgrown to give to her friend Piper. Grace held her Elmo doll for a moment, and then put it on the pile of clothes. “It’s Piper’s turn to have Elmo,” she said. “Are you sure?” I asked, “Elmo’s been a great friend to you.” “Yes, I’m sure.”
Elmo is over.
I bought a tiny rosebush with small buds, some open, at Trader Joe’s tonight and the girl at the checkout asked me if I was buying it for myself. I nodded. Then she told me, “Pay attention to the open ones.” And then she looked deeply into my eyes. We had some kind of momentary connection, and after I paid she shook my hand and said she hoped she’d see me again. I am not sure what that means or what the metaphor is here, but, OK, I will pay attention to the open flowers.
After Trader Joe’s, I went to an event for a super cool and funny writer named Cindy Chupack. She worked on a couple little shows you may have heard of, like Sex and the City and Everybody Loves Raymond. She wrote some books. As she signed mine, I mentioned to her that I just had a piece published in Motherlode about Grace’s birth parents moving in, and that I was so inspired by her talk and wanted to figure out how to keep that momentum up. And she asked me to send her the link. Which made me really, really happy. I decided in the parking lot on the way out that every day, I will do something, even if it’s a little thing, to move my work forward.
On the drive home, I missed my dad and wished he could be around to read my stuff, to tell me to fight for better contracts, to give me the hug I haven’t had for 10 years. As I got off the 2 to the 134 West, I realized I’d absently had been holding my fist up, curled around my dad’s fingers, which I imagined coming from somewhere above.
Tomorrow I go blonde.