Yesterday morning, with the trees a perfect, icy whitish gray, I drove to pick up the lil' dude after a mini-vacation at her grandparents' of the North. It had been a long, quiet four days without my best girl around. We drove a few miles with the music turned way, way down (a rarity!) so we could catch up. And by we, I meant ... her. Oh, my bleeding, happy ears!
That hotdog made me throw up. The Beagle was in the road. He never listens to Grandma G. Guess who was on the roof but wasn't Santa? Papa hanging the Christmas lights. I got a new horse for the bathtub and hers hairs CAN GET WET! I forgot my new lion from Papa's store downstairs. I have a new wolf and his baby and the fastest animal in the jungle? What's that called? Oh a cheetah and hers baby too. I puked on NaNa. She needs a bath. Why is the Beagle staring at me? Grandma G. and I flapped our wings in the snow to make ... what are those things called? I got new boots. I puked on my new pants. I have a raccoon on my shirt. It's new, too. I am done with that bad medicine. Grandma says my cough is gone. I have a scratch on my leg from the cat. I miss Daycare Lady. Where's Daddy? Why are you driving the truck? I can't hear my music. Don't ever feed me hotdogs again. When can we go to Grandpa T's for that supper thing? How many more sleeps? The Beagle is still not sleeping. There's Caribou. That's coffee. There's where we drive for swimming. That's Daddy's school. Let's go home. Are we by our town yet? I puked on my new carseat. I need a new one for the car, too. For my birthday. I saw it at Target with Grandma S. I got a new Lion King book. Rafiki has a blue butt. I mean tushie, sorry Mama. That's another Caribou. Barnes and Noble! I want to go there on my birthday for cupcakes and drink things. Why do you like me? Let's watch a movie when we get home. I said, I puked on NaNa and she is wet! I cried my face off. Papa made me stand in the snow with no shoes on to clean me up! Can I smell your coffee? I won't taste it, I promise ... Is this song Lady A.?
"Wait. What did you say, baby? Why do I like you?"
Yeah, why, Mama?
Oh, lil' dude. I like you because ...
I still get burning, wet eyes when I hear you count. Your memory is amazing. You're compassionate. I love our mornings spent in my office at work. You're friends with the boys in your class. You get so mad when you get woken up. You love Jim Boeheim. Stories at bedtime are no longer simple with you. You insist on hugging and kissing the Beagle at bedtime. You request Chipotle for dinner daily. You've had the two same items on your Christmas list since January. You love accessories. You made me a Mama. You make giant messes, and no move to ever clean them up. You miss the library. You sit for an hour at the coffee shop on the weekends. You're my daughter. Like me at your age, you abhor tights and long sleeves. You always share. You think my favorite team is the Minnesota Twins. You made your Grandma's, grandmas. You love Old Navy. You apologize, even when it's inappropriate. Your favorite word is awkward. You prefer animals to dolls and babies. You thank me incessantly for new toothpaste. You despise chocolate milk. You sleep with NaNa wrapped tight around your face. PBS airs your best shows. You have a high pain tolerance. You think Daddy hung the moon. You speak with a positive tilt in your voice; it simply oozes with hope. Drinking straws rock your world. You're my best conspirator. You suck at lying. You wonder how long it will be until sandal season. Red grapes and homemade pickles still top your favorite food list. You're literal to the nth degree. You can't wait until our house gets a hole in it, so we can move. You still crave bathtime like you did years ago. You make time fly. You make me giddy for the holidays and special occasions. You make all my sadness evaporate. You're crazy consistent, and good with routines. You still reach for my hand in parking lots. You know Target's secret for erasing bad days. You think yoga is hilarious.
That, dear sweet girl, is why I like you.