The Red Dress Club: Affection

The sky is a hazy shade of morning. The few cars on the road seem out of place. A rabbit scurries by. The grass is still dew-kissed.

Opening the sliding glass door, I breathe in this blended scent of dawn. The chill outside is a perfect compliment to the steam rising from my coffee cup.

I settle into the seat beside the door and slide my computer open. I cherish this time. My on-line world awakens and grasps hold of my attention while my family sleeps, not needing a thing.

I exchange the warmth of my bed, Jason, and paused thoughts for being alone because this is what I require to rejuvenate, to center, to be.

Then, I hear the inevitable sound of steps. Of course I do. Smaller than my own but too old to be called “little,” they stride across the hallway above me and down the stairs towards me.

My sweet Kayli, newly branded a second grader.

Tall.

Willowy.

Footed pajamas traded in for sweats and a print t-shirt.

Our relationship was hard earned. I struggled as a first time mother.

I was blue.

Nursing was difficult.

Kayli cried relentlessly.

Jason parented with breath-taking ease, which was a humbling relief.

All of these puzzle pieced to tell our story; Our bumpy road as Mother and Daughter.

But eventually we did find our groove. And one day I was linked to my girl- Seamlessly.

Today, so soon after the end of the school year, I’m especially wistful for those threads. I notice how fleeting little is.

I run my fingers through her hair. She leans into me for an instant and I breathe in her strawberry scented shampoo just a titch longer than necessary.

The moment passes when Chloe and Brody sleepily stumble down the stairs and claim my lap, my arms, my attention. Kayli stands as she announces, Let’s make pancakes! So we do.

She helps me cook for the “little kids” further confirming her new Big Girl status.

We laugh and chat, measure and scoop. Melding into a new kind of relationship that is still foreign to me. Not one that I’m ready to embrace quite yet.

There’s sun to savor and soak in, so we eat outside. Kayli methodically takes one plate out at a time. I follow with my coffee in hand, and see her on the ground.

Rainbow pancakes overturned.

Plump blueberries smooshed.

Knobby knees skinned.

She looks up at me with tears in her deep brown eyes. I fell! She slumps, holding onto her leg with one hand, an empty plate, tightly clenched in suddenly-small-again fingers, in the other.

I drop next to her. She melts in fully. I breathe out. She’s still little, still mine.

RemembeRED is a memoir meme. This week’s prompt is to write about how the show of affection has played a part in your memory. Bring us to that time.  Help us feel what you felt. Constructive criticism is always welcome.

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Comments

  1. It is a constant dance-away and towards and away again. You capture it so very well.

  2. This moment was beautifully captured. Loved this, and you!

  3. So sweet…if they could just stay little forever. I love how you are so honest about the relationship being so hard at first.

    Love it :)

  4. Love. I love the honest you share. It isn’t always easy to slide into the parenthood. Sometimes my husband seems to do it more gracefully to. I think its so important for mothers to say this out loud, to break the taboo. It isn’t always perfect, but we get there. And we love our children. I loved the use of the word “seemlessly” b/c that is exactly how it happens, when it happens, and it does it just sometimes takes time. Great work.

  5. I find myself wrapped around my 6yo in bursts these days, like I can smell his independence from me whooshing towards us. This post says everything I feel about that.
    Great job! So glad I came here from TRDC linkup, as I do every week. 😉

  6. This is just so lovely, Galit. You are so good at bringing us viscerally there with you, finding the just right tone. Love your writer’s voice.

    (And now, of course, I am deep in daughter envy, remembering all those times of cooking beside my mother, my sons just not that interested.)

  7. cristina says:

    geez, you have me in tears.. happy tears. I haven’t had much time to do/read TRC memes lately, but I’m so glad I stopped by this morning. Your words always, always touch me.

  8. Its so true that they seem so grown up at some points and then suddenly something happens and they seem so young again! Thanks so much for stopping by the blog last week, just hopping by from this week’s RDC linky

  9. This is so beautiful. I was in tears reading this- so adorably innocent and cute. And, this line- ” And one day I was linked to my girl- Seamlessly.” WOW. Seamlessly is such a beautiful and you made me realise that.

  10. So nice! The venturing away and coming back. The not needing and then the needing. Described so well. I like the way she’s not so big again after spilling the pancakes.

  11. This was so beautiful. The little sweet moments to cherish with our children. And the reminder that even though they may be growing up, sometimes they are still our little babies.

  12. Lovely.
    The last lines where you write, “she’s still little. she’s still mine'”. really got me.
    Great job!

  13. Just as I am excited to see your comments…I open up your posts with expectation. You never disappoint me. You have a way of capturing emotion and revealing yourself in between. It is truly beautiful.
    You will love the ebb and flow of your little girl growing up, and your relationship. You will be glad you have some of these posts to look back on and remember. I look forward to the reading of it all…so keep it out there for us!

  14. With out doubt Galit your writing is always so vivid and beautiful, I think I’ll go have pancakes now :)

  15. Your writing always makes me slow down just a bit. & reminds me to soak in these toddler and baby moments just a bit more. Thank you for that.

    Also? I’m so crushed for her when she falls. Growing up can be such a hard, clumsy, fast, awkward thing.

    • It’s true, isn’t it? The awkward, the clumsy- that I remember so very well.

      Also GF- you’re totally in my brain! I had the line “She is crushed” in there. *Sigh* poor girl!

      XO

  16. You are a terrific writer Galit, this is such a beautiful post. I want to gather you, your words, and your babies up and give you all a great big virtual hug! xoxo

  17. This truly resonates with me. I am struggling with the fact that my baby is now toddler {and will eventually be a “newly branded second grader”). She seems to be less baby every day, learning and talking more and more.

    This piece is just beautiful. I could see you, in the kitchen, measuring and scooping, loving and patient. You are really a great mom, Galit.

  18. I got a feeling of hesitant trepidation from this piece which I thought was so poignant, the tight rope of not treating them like babies when they are so intent on being ‘big.’ And of them, from moment to moment wanting/needed to be a big kid or not. Your honesty about your journey as a mother with Kayli is so honest that it is a little painful, and it makes every single interaction in this with her, from the pancakes, sniffing her hair, carrying the plates and melting into you all that much more precious.

    I really really loved this very first line of this, “The sky is a hazy shade of morning.”

    On a not writing note, what makes the pancakes rainbow?!?

  19. I read you writing with ease and flow. The short sentences make it so interesting to me and this holds my attention.

    Your heart is beautiful. It has to be. Thanks for writing about real life and love.

  20. the way you melded the little girl, with your “growing up” girl and how she still needs you…and how you still need her, was seamless and powerful. I felt the love you have for that daughter of yours in every stanza.

    xo

  21. Such a beautiful snapshot into the difficult give and take of parenting – their struggle for independence, our thrill at their growth, our aching hearts at the idea of losing our babies. I love the honesty in the post about how your journey to this place of easy, maternal affection wasn’t always easy or simple. Lovely as always xoxoxo

  22. Hold on to those special moments like that because all to soon they’ll be teenagers and you’ll be left wondering what happened to all that time.

  23. awww… this was beautiful, and actually brought tears to my eyes at the end… love it.

  24. So, so sweet, these days need to pass more slowly.

  25. Oh I love! I love the description of your quiet time in the morning…
    You’ve captured the moment perfectly where you see the flash of the little girl that still needs you.
    At nearly 33, I still call my Mom when I’m sick…
    “Footed pajamas traded in for sweats and a print t-shirt.” – my son is going into grade 2 in the fall so I understand this completely. I almost cried when he didn’t want to wear his cartoon themed pajamas anymore….
    This is a beautiful post!

  26. Your words are more delicious than blueberry pancakes. For sure.

    And also much better for the soul.

    I’m sorry about the skinned knees.

    But I’m so glad that in that moment? She was yours again.

    Yours always.

  27. The part about her strawberry-scented hair really got me because I smell my kids hair all the time and every time I think “someday they won’t let me do this, or will think it’s weird if I do (ha!)so I better do it all I can now.

    This piece is lovely, as always.

  28. Oh so beautiful. So sweet. It goes so quickly but they still need us, right? Especially in times like that. Scoop her up and hug her tight!

    Thanks for swinging by to see my Bon Jovi Belly. I can’t wait to read more of your blog! I love it already.

    Lots of yummy love,
    Alex aka Ma What’s For Dinner
    http://www.mawhats4dinner.com

  29. I adore this post! Beautifully written!!!

  30. Beautiful. I am going through the same thing. My baby has gone and turned into a 4 yr old. A list tooth. She put her pants on by herself this morning for the first time. She gets the punch line of jokes. And she has an opinion. I miss my baby. But I am falling in live with my big girl.

  31. “I notice how fleeting little is.” This is where I am all the time now, those moments of little fewer and fewer with each day.

    This was beautiful. Hold onto that little as much as you can!!

  32. How touching and bittersweet! I’m not a mother yet, but I can still feel the beauty and sweetness of motherhood when you write about it. I love that you share your struggles as well as your triumphs. Beautifully told memory. Love the end, when she “melts in fully.” Such a lovely image…the way you described it helped me understand just how wonderful and fleeting that moment was for you.

  33. I loved this for so many reasons, not the least of which is your always fantastic imagery. I felt like I was right there with you, making pancakes and watching your in-between daughter. I just love the way you write.

  34. So beautiful. So real. So touching. I love how you always bring me right there with you. I wanted to hug her too. And freeze time. Always. I just want to stop that stupid clock. But I don’t.

    Perfect.

  35. “I breathe in her strawberry scented shampoo just a titch longer than necessary.”

    Ooooh yeah, lady, this is what motherhood is. I find myself almost wanting to consume my children, so delicious to me is their very being.

    Love, love, love!

    This and you.

    xxx

  36. what a gorgeous set of moments, I get those flashes too with the tall and willowy and nearly a tween 8 year old, who is occasionally small again like your Kayli was with her skinned knee. and I know to soak those rare moments in now. thank you for writing this!!

  37. I love how descriptive the story was & I couldn’t help smiling as you described your little girl coming down the steps.

  38. This is beautiful. I loved every word. Especially this line: “I’m especially wistful for those threads. I notice how fleeting little is.” I feel so many of these emotions with my oldest daughter.

  39. I love these moments and they happen father and father between once they start growing up…but luckily they do still happen.

  40. Thanks for the tears this morning….. :) Lovely as always.

  41. *sigh*

    i can’t wait for parenthood. i have a feeling i will be calling upon you quite often. love this, and you, galit.

  42. What a sweet story. It’s so nice to be the hero for our little ones.

  43. JDaniel4's Mom says:

    Amazing! I love that you were focused on working on your computer until something more important came along.

  44. Oh Galit.
    My heart ached for your baby to not grow up.
    And then it ached again when her hard work fell to the ground.
    But.
    You were there.
    No matter how old she gets.
    She’ll need you.

  45. What a beautiful post and what a bittersweet ending!

  46. This was very beautiful. I can definitely relate to it. If only there was some way for them to grow up and stay little at the same time.

  47. This is so lovely, Galit. I feel a sense of bittersweetness at the kids growing up. Sometimes you just want to hold them close forever. xo

  48. Maybe it’s because my oldest daughter is getting married in a couple of weeks, but I’m now in tears. Well done. And hold onto the little but enjoy the friendship that can blossom too as they grow older. I’m off to go cry in my pillow now. 😉

  49. I spend a lot of time thinking about parenting my future baby, my future toddler, my future little kid… but my imagination usually stops at around kindergarten. This post reminds me every age, every step will be just as unique and special as the one before it. Your children are so lucky to have you. Your level of appreciation astounds me.