"No one can take you from me"

We had an ice storm on Sunday and could not leave the house. I ran out of creative ways to entertain the kid by lunchtime. She played dress-up. We played Lucky Ducks until someone got in a huff over losing. Am I supposed to let her win? I'm never sure of the rules on that. If I let her lose, her little psyche is damaged. If I let her win, she never learns about disappointment and then grows up to be a maladjusted adult. If we are playing a game and I've won more than once in a row, I'll usually try to rig it so that I lose the next game. Some games are easier to rig than others.

I also attempted to teach her to play checkers. She demanded that we switch colors in the middle of the game, so I gave up on that one. I think she may be a little young for checkers. Either that, or I'm too old to muster the required patience for teaching it.

She had a tea party using the new Disney Princess set she got from her Meemaw for Christmas. The other day she held up one of her toys and said, "Mama, who got this for me, Santa or Meemaw?" That's it, just those two options. Like I haven't spent every cent I have on her since May 3, 2005.

P had to work Sunday evening so, while the tea party was still in session, I decided to take a quick bath. I left the door unlatched, of course, in case A needed anything. I grabbed a book I've been reading (A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier) and sank into the hot water. I put my head back and closed my eyes for a moment.

Two seconds later: "Mama?" There was a curly-headed kid wearing Tinker Bell pajamas standing next to the tub.

I told her that I had turned on Noggin in my room and that she could go and watch it if she was done with her tea party. Nope, no dice. My daughter knows that I stay with her while she's in the tub, and now she was going to return the favor.

She stuck her hand in the water and scooped it back and forth. "Is it worm?" I've only recently noticed that she mispronounces that particular word. "Is it comfy?" I assured her that the water was fine and that I was fine. Everything, in fact, was fine.

"Is that your book?" she asked. I nodded. "Do you want my Max & Ruby book?" She started fishing around in her toy bin for the plastic bath book.

"I'm all set," I told her.

She chattered on and asked me questions like: why was my shampoo green? why did I need conditioner? could she sniff it? did I want to play with her bath blocks? was the water still worm? why did I have a pillow in the tub?

I laughed as I listened to the litany of questions, nodding or giving a simple response as required along the way. I know I am biased, but my kid is damned articulate. She's got the gift of gab and she leaves me in awe most of the time.

Realizing that my bath would be more of a utilitarian endeavor and not a relaxing soak with a good book, I told A that I was all done. It was then that she said something that has settled in my heart and stayed there ever since.

She leaned down, tapped on my knee with her fingers, and smiled at me.

"You're my mama. You're not anybody else's mama. Nobody can take you from me."

I nodded. "Yes, I'll always be your mama." I felt tears springing to my already-wet eyes.

Never having been a particularly lucky person (not the sort who wins prize drawings or chooses the most efficient check-out lane at the grocery store), I still find myself overwhelmed with gratitude over this one instance where my fortune made a spectacular turn. Becoming a mother took seven years and a lot of heartache. It also took the pain and selflessness of another mom, who entrusted me with a beautiful, pouty-lipped baby three and a half years ago. Losing out on the occasional bubble bath seems a price that's more than fair . . .

Comments

Susie said…
You just had to go and put things in perspective, didn't you?! What a sweet sweet girl you've got!
Anonymous said…
If you figure out a way to teach pre-schoolers the game of Checkers, be sure to blog about it! Chloe has been asking to play and it's quite the struggle to teach strategy. I had to draw the line when she asked to play Chess.
Jen J said…
AW! That's adorable! Keep this particular post to re-read when she's 13 and screaming that she hates you. Of course I'm sure that YOUR DD won't do that - that was just something that I did! (Sorry Mom!)

If it makes you feel any better, even some of the Kindergarteners can't "get" Checkers.
Sam said…
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.
Barry and Amy said…
That's just adorable!

She is precious!
Anonymous said…
That's really sweet! This sentence-- "she said something that has settled in my heart and stayed there ever since"-- is so beautiful. I read it over and over. And I'll probably steal it and use it myself, first chance I get :)
KarenE said…
Ahhh... the comments the young will say at the most precious times...

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