Every now and then I come across a video of you and Miles that makes it hard to believe that you both were anything but older sassy-mouthed children. In this particular video, you must be around three years old and holy cow, you were adorable. Between the soft baby curls, the child lisp and the facial expressions, it’s no wonder you got away with so much. I compare having children to having puppies: puppies are adorable yet they make so much trouble but because of their adorableness, most of their nonsense is forgiven. How else could we put up with so much unless they were adorable to look at and play with? Then they become adult dogs and yes, you still love them but their adorableness that got them out of so much trouble isn’t there. Suddenly they’re just annoying little burdens who require food, shelter and love. Do you see where I’m going with this?
I love you and your brother more than you could ever know but that saccharine sweet quality is gone. Now you’re a child with frizzy bedhead, morning breath, whining tendencies, sassy rebuttals and now when you’re being an obnoxious child, there is nothing making the situation easier. Now, you’re just an annoying child with a smell one can only associate with expired bologna. This is a piece of parenthood nobody warns you about.
It’s becoming clear that you will once again be changing schools next year and I’m sorry that in four years, this will be your fourth school. You love your current school so much. Every weekend you ask when it will be Monday because you’re so excited to go back and when you see your classmates in the parking lot at school, you have to roll your window down to scream their name in hysterical excitement. I made a brief comment that you may not be attending your school next year and you immediately began crying that you didn’t want to leave. I see now that you’re attached so I’m assuming I’ll have to do a bait-and-switch when the new school year begins. Obviously, it was never my intention to give you the school tour of the Tri-Valley but it just goes to show you that I’m totally clueless when it comes to raising you and your brother.
Valentine’s Day was a couple days ago–arguably your favorite holiday. When it’s Christmas day, you’re excited because with the arrival of Christmas means your day of love is only a mere six weeks away. You love, love, there’s no question about that. Your preschool teachers used to have to talk to you about being overly affectionate toward your friends and I certainly had to have talks with you about personal space. I would probably pass over Valentine’s if it weren’t for your excitement. We wanted to do something special as a family to celebrate your favorite holiday and since it was a beautiful weekend, we decided to head to Santa Cruz. I’ve never been to The Mystery Spot so we decided to check that out first and then head over to the beach.
Apparently the rest of the bay area had the same plan as us because we sat in traffic for twice as long as it normally takes. We finally arrive at The Mystery Spot and upon exiting the car, you take one look around and ask, is this it? We’re spending our Valentine’s surrounded by dirt and sticks? So you’re not out-doorsy–note taken. We walk up to buy tickets to learn that they are sold out for the day. Great. We decide to go to Capitola to grab lunch at Shadowbrook. We sit in more traffic when you proclaim that your annual day of love is “stinking” so far. We arrive at the restaurant to find a near empty parking lot. We check their website and of course they are only open for dinner. Fantastic. After driving around again and sitting in more traffic, we decide to park fifteen minutes away from the downtown. We arrive at downtown Capitola to find most dining options are mediocre at best. We find one, sit down and immediately feel like something isn’t right. Between dirty tables, a seagull snatching food, and the waiter proclaiming we can’t put in our food order yet because there are people before us, we decide to make our two-hour drive worthwhile by ditching this spot and going for pizza.
We arrive at the pizza spot to discover a line of twenty people deep waiting to order. We’re starving at this point and I’m a second away from just throwing up my hands in defeat when we spot a falafel restaurant. We immediately sit down (good sign), order our food and then wait. Our table is adorned with two fake roses complete with cobwebs. We’re listening to an eclectic playlist that consists of 70’s love rock, Toni Braxton and Cher intermixed with what sounds like movie trailers for Die Hard-esque movies. In addition to the sweet sounds filling our ears, our eyes are graced with an animal planet show on the television directly overhead that for some reason decides to show repeat footage of a man french kissing a giraffe. Our lunch is almost complete but not before I watch the hostess reach into her shorts between her thighs and pull out what I can only imagine to be the world’s worst crotch-eating wedgie. This was truly the most romantic meal one could ever experience.
We decide waiting in lines is our thing so we wait another eternity for ice cream. We finally make our way to the beach when we realize that we have forgotten to bring your bathing suits. I did however bring a change of clothes so we decide to just let you two go for it in the ocean. The day was long, disappointing at times and downright bizarre but in that moment, watching you and Miles giggling and running around on the shore, made the day complete and wonderful.
I’ve struggled a lot lately with relinquishing control when it comes to you and Miles. I’ve always held a notion that I needed to keep you safe and clean at all moments of your life. I’m realizing that I’m taking a lot away from you by doing this. In my effort to let you two be kids, I’m trying really hard to allow you to get dirty and to explore and to let you fall (short distances)–all things I’ve feverishly tried to control. We went to Sycamore Grove park recently where I let you two just walk into the creek in your shoes and clothes because you wanted to look for rocks. You two are ecstatic and having so much fun and the whole time I’m thinking, please don’t catch Listeria. I’m learning these are your favorite moments and it’s equally wonderful for me to just stand back and watch you two be kids without every second telling you, no.
Later this year you’ll be seven and the thought makes my heart ache. I miss the little girl from the videos but I’m in love with the smart, witty young lady in front of me–bad breath and all. I love that you continue to love, love and I hope that your spirit and sarcastic ways never dwindle. Continue to be curious and never let the fear of ruining your clothes prohibit you from enjoying yourself. Be spontaneous and welcome change because you just might surprise yourself. You and Miles have taught me these things against my will and I’m forever grateful. The cursing under my breath and head shaking may tell you differently but it’s the honest truth. Now, please go get a Tic Tac before you destroy all of humanity with your hot breath.