For the last four years, I've spent the better part of nearly every day with a little girl who shares a semblance of my face (but mostly her grandma's) and has her Daddy's tender heart. We have been side by side, best friends separated by only a few decades.
Today my Belle started preschool. It's just two days a week, and I know I'm maybe the sappiest mom in the world, but it was hard, walking away. Leaving my baby to fend for herself. Especially because I left her with tears spilling down her face. I left her in the care of probably the sweetest preschool teacher on the planet, and I'm confident that preschool is the perfect step for her right now. But still. I'm a self-admitted helicopter mom. I hover. Unabashedly. I know the world will have its way little by little, and so I soak up my minutes, the time that is at least partly in my control. And so today, my heart aches a little. My constant companion is off doing her own thing. Growing up.
Yesterday, in the midst of her intense nerves, I waited for her baby sister to take a nap and pulled out a gift I'd been waiting to give her for weeks. I showed her the necklace I wear around my neck every day - the one with an A for her, an L for Lou and the picture of tiny Daddy. Some of the people I love the most, around my neck, always with me. She then unwrapped a tiny silver heart pendant necklace.
She was so excited and asked if she could wear it to preschool. I told her she could, and that she could wear it every day. I told her that when she was feeling a little nervous, she just needed to remember her necklace. I told her the heart on her necklace could remind her that even when I'm not with her, I'm in her heart. Always.
I then took out a second necklace. One just like hers. I put it on and told her she'd always be in my heart as well. My baby, the tiny adult, the four-year-old with a soul as old as the earth, stared out at me through glassy eyes. She understood. I noticed as the day went on that she often had that tiny heart between her fingers, rubbing its smooth shiny surface, her concentration fixed on something intangible.
I know her, and I know that she was gathering the bits of courage scattered about her soul, the ones we've worked so hard on cultivating these last few months. And I hope that while she did, she was remembering how much I love her and that she is always always in my heart.
When Lou woke up from her nap, Annabelle showed her the little necklace. Lou proclaimed a hearty and appropriate, "Wow!" And Annabelle said, "It's so I can remember Mommy's always in my heart. And you Lou! And Daddy!"
I am the luckiest mom in the world. I spend my days with two brown-eyed babes who are not only my charges, but also my best friends and my teachers all at the same time. Today marks the beginning of my first baby's "official" growing up. I'm so proud of her already. In just four short years, she has taught us so much and blown us away by her propensity to learn and her unparalleled ability to love. How lucky I am to have this little lady in my heart. Always.
|This is a lucky penny from her sweet Aunt Courtney.|
Annabelle took that little porcelain box and her lucky penny with her in her backpack.