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Parenthood, Olivia, Travel

Month 100, 101 and 102

Dear Olivia,

I feel like a ping pong ball at the moment between school, work, extracurricular activities and just with life in general. You might be asking yourself, why am I no longer writing these letters to you more often? Am I no longer interesting? Are my interactions with you unworthy of a blog post? Do I not embarrass you enough that you have nothing to share amongst family and friends? You can rest your weary head because you still drive me looney, you are still wildly interesting, our interactions can sometimes be unbelievable and I’m still crazy about you.

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The truth is, I’ve been helping out a lot more at Dad’s office and that responsibility is encroaching on the time I used to spend with you and Miles while you were home from school. The reality is I’m a parent slowly re-entering a world I once knew a long long time ago before you exploded into my world. I’m dipping my toe back into the working world and learning how to balance that in addition to my full time parenting duties and I’m finding it to be challenging and something I’m going to have to work extremely hard at to balance out. Miles will be in school all day next year (hallelujah) so this means I will have a greater opportunity to contribute more to the family financially because let’s be honest, raising a kid is by far the most expensive thing that could ever be and there’s no guarantee the investment will pay off. For all I know, I could be investing all this time, money and love into you and you’re just going to turn around and sell Omaha Steaks from the back of a 1997 Chevy Malibu. Just for the record, I would find this incredibly disappointing because I am a vegetarian after all.

The last few months have been busy: you’re a second grader with more homework than I ever recall having, you’re continuing with your piano lessons, you attend a science class and art lesson two days after school because this is considered extra (cue sad violin music) and you’re playing softball again. This is all in addition to Miles’s ukulele lessons and baseball. Oh, and did I mention we’re still a one car family? Look, I’m not looking for sympathy. We willingly signed you and your brother up for all of these activities and we accept that our lives will be in a disarray for the time being. We accept this because this is part of the investment into your future. I never was this busy as a kid but times have changed. Schools don’t offer the variety of subjects and activities as part of the curriculum anymore and there is an immense amount of pressure as parents to expose their kids to anything and everything. It’s difficult as a parent to not succumb to this pressure because at the end of the day, I want you and Miles to have every opportunity to succeed as possible. If it means I live like an Uber driver, spending a large part of my day sitting in a car, chauffeuring you and your brother around to sports and music lessons, then I can make that sacrifice for the time being.

You asked me if you could play softball again despite not really showing an interest in playing when it’s not softball season. I’m understanding that it may not necessarily be the sport that you love but the camaraderie you have amongst your teammates. You long for real lasting friendships with girls your age and I see you light up when you talk about friends at school or your softball and swim teammates. You enjoy feeling like you’re a part of a sisterhood so to speak and those relationships mean everything to you. It only drives me mad when you forget that you’re actually a part of a softball team which requires you to play softball and you would rather talk with your friends.

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Your season started out a bit rusty. You resorted to old habits that we worked so hard to break last softball season. You didn’t seem all that interested in trying to better yourself or listen to advice as to how you could improve your batting or fielding. I’m not sure if it was the repetition of practices or you observing your teammates but one game while you were playing third base, you caught a ball that was fielded by the pitcher and got the first out at third. And then another ball was thrown to you and you got the second out. And then a ball was hit to you that you fielded and beat the runner for the third out. Your teammates congratulated you from the field, all telling you what awesome plays you did and how proud they were. Despite you trying to remain calm and cool as if it were no thing, the smile on your face you were trying to conceal was one of genuine pride. It was a pivotal moment in your youth softball career. Now, you are a little more excited to practice during off days and third base is by far your favorite position. Oh, and finally you’re catching the ball instead of holding your arm out awkwardly as if you’re trying to will the ball to your glove that is three feet away from your person. Once softball comes to an end in three weeks time, you will become sad and gloomy to bid your softball teammates adieu but don’t despair young one because like all youth sports, there is no rest for the weary and you will be ushered right into swim team season.

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Blazing Butterflies – U8 Softball Team

We recently returned from our spring break road trip to Palm Springs, San Diego and Universal Studios where most of us fell ill and remained somewhat under the weather for majority of the week. I say most of us because by some golden luck, you my dear, were the only one to remain healthy. How you managed to avoid getting sick is beyond comprehension because we were all sitting in a car for hours, coughing and sneezing every which way. I feel horrible for our neighbors in the next room at the Palm Springs hotel because there wasn’t a moment that either myself, Dad or Miles wasn’t coughing. I enjoyed our road trip but given the illnesses that plagued majority of us, I really wish we could have savored that time away without that component. It was really difficult to fully submerge yourself into your vacation when you’re nursing a low-grade fever and doing research from your computer as to where the closest Kaiser is located.

Despite all this, your Dad and I persevered and worked damn hard to make it a trip worth remembering. How many times do I echo the thought that soon your enthusiasm for our family adventures will soon wane and the mere thought of spending endless hours in the car with your family will be the last thing that you will want to do. I feel I have but a handful of opportunities to get these moments in before you’re too busy or frankly, just don’t want to participate. My heart hurts at how fast you’re growing up.

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Hiking in Joshua Tree

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Exploring the Cabazon Dinosaurs

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Family photo booth time at the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs

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Sibling love at the Midway in San Diego

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Teasing your brother in old town San Diego

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Harry Potterfied for Universal Studios

You’re approaching your final weeks of second grade and once again I’ll reminisce of the tiny little person you used to be. The tiny little face who was always at my side or sitting in my lap asking me to read ‘Corduroy’ for the millionth time and now you’re this young lady who strains my lower back when I try to pick you up and you sadly ask, am I too heavy for you to hold now? Although I’m screaming inside at the pain radiating down the back of my legs, I’ll manage to muster the energy to say, no, no, you’re light as a feather. I refuse to acknowledge that this too will fade away. Looks like some upper body strength training is in my near future.

These milestones in your life are both exciting and wonderful and bring me so much pride in the kind, smart, loving person you are but they also bring me so much sadness. Every time I look at you, I see less and less of the little girl you used to be. Your face seems to change every so slightly every time I kiss you goodnight that I fear the day I will look at you and the face looking back at me will be that of a young woman.

The pain of a parent is real. It’s confusing and strange and heartbreaking and wonderful and I couldn’t imagine ever not experiencing it. Balancing life lately has birthed quite a few grey hairs on my head and I could never forget the morning you learned that parents too age. Miles actually walked in on me as I was working delicately to remove a wiry white hair from my head that was going rogue. Miles, of course was very intrigued as to what I was doing. I, in turn, explained to him that I was getting older and as a result, I was getting more grey hair. He seemed to accept my response and we went downstairs for breakfast. Upon your arrival to the kitchen, Miles ran to you with extreme urgency to announce that I had grey hair. You looked at me as if I just informed you that I was dying from cancer. WHAT? WHY ARE YOU GETTING GREY HAIR?! Again, I told you that this is a normal part of life. I’m getting to the age where my hair is starting to turn grey. NO! THAT CAN’T BE! ALL YOUR HAIR IS GOING TO BE GREY? BUT GRANDMAS AND GRANDPAS HAVE GREY HAIR. I think you were one second away from pleading with God, WHY, GOD? WHY?? Nothing really boosts my confidence like watching you plead with the Lord to save me from imminent death all because of a few white hairs. I can see what a help you’ll be when I’m really old. I can see it now: I’ll go in for a colonoscopy and you’ll be at a local cemetery seeking a tombstone estimate.

I know these letters are becoming fewer and farther between but I love you all the same, if not more. Although our lives are becoming busier and it will feel at times that we’re passing each other like ships in the night, your Dad and I are so incredibly proud of the young lady you are becoming. I could do without you teasing your brother nonstop but a time will come when I will miss your voice in this home and I will long for the moments when you couldn’t stop giggling in the middle of dinner even though it drives me insane. Our lives are busy but I would have it no other way if it means spending that much more time with you. I want you to know that you have and will always be worth the investment and sacrifices your Dad and I have made for you. Now, be a dear and hand me the box of hair dye.

Love,

Momma

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