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Monday, July 22, 2013

Dates With My Daughters- Part I

At the Farmer's Market on Saturday, a man walked up to me and the twins while we were waiting on Rick and Gabriella to make a choice at the beer cheese booth.  He commented how happy the twins looked, but then he looked at me and said, "You strike me as the type of mom who's never going to take moments with these girls for granted."  I must admit that I took this stranger's assessment as a compliment.  Maybe it's because I try so hard to appreciate every single second with my family and I was amazed that someone noticed.  Even more, it was almost like God had noticed...like he was giving me a thumb's up, telling me I'm on the right track.

This summer has been crazy.  I've taken a new position at school which comes with a whole new set of responsibilities and challenges.  I knew that when I interviewed for the position, so there's no surprise there.  The real surprise has come from the increase in my photography business.  Now, an official LLC (woot! woot!), I have more clients and inquiries than I ever thought would be possible.  Photography is becoming a full time job, but news flash, I already have one!  What I do at school has always, and will always take precedence over my photography as I feel like that's God's 1st plan for me.  However, I do feel like I've been given this extra gift of photography which finds me scrounging around for moments of time when my family is sleeping, so that I can fulfill my obligations and still be around to catch all those moments that man was referring to the other day. Bottom line, I stay tired and about 1 inch from going too far under the water.  I have a lot on my plate, as we all do.  Trust me, I don't think I have the market cornered on fatigue and sacrifice for my family.  If you are a loving parent, you're tired and you're making sacrifices too! I think we're all just holding on to those special, little moments/gifts in life that keep us going until the next one arrives.

Well, all that to say I had one of those keep-you-going-moments last night with Gabriella.  In an effort to never be a parent that shows favoritism to one of our children, Rick and I try to have special dates with each of the girls.  Personally, I see the short-term and long-term effects of parents who put a little more effort and interest into one sibling.  Reason it how you may, a child sees this extra interest as love.  Maybe I'll fail miserably, but my goal is for none of the girls to ever think one of the others is my favorite or loved more, but to each secretly think that she is.  Does that make sense?  I don't want any of them to look back and think I put more time or energy into their siblings, but I do want each of them to always hold a special feeling that they were most loved.  Maybe when I'm long gone, they'll all gather around a table and fight over who was my favorite, citing the special times I created with each of them as evidence.  No one will win.

Anywho, I plan on blogging about each of my dates with the girls and last night was Gabriella's turn.  Gabriella is dramatic.  She is a girly girl through and through.  So the perfect date for Gabriella: dinner at a fancy restaurant and a play.  

As we got ready, Gabriella wanted to use the "hot thing I can't touch" on her hair.  I have never curled her hair for fear of burning her, but with extra promises to be still, I gave it a go.  Gabriella looked in the mirror and flipped her hair back and forth.  Then, she wanted to put on make-up, so I got really crazy and tried to put mascara on her as she feigned attempts of looking up. I just knew I was going to get a big glob of black right in her pupil, but my hand was exceptionally steady for some reason.  She picked through my jewelry and finally settled on a pearl necklace.  The final touch was one squirt of perfume. 

On the way downtown, Gabriella asked me to turn the music up and she clapped to the beat of every song that played the entire way. 

At our pre-play dinner, we ate at a restaurant that I was sure would appeal to Gabriella.  With eclectic shabby-chic decor, it was the perfect place for a little girl to have dinner.  Gabriella ordered her own drink and meal using the words "May I," and "Please," after pretending to read the menu.  She held my hand while we waited and said, "Mommy, this is the best day ever."

As we made our way to see what would be her very 1st play, she stopped and talked to people along the way.  "I bet they're going to the play, too," my little Sherlock would whisper to me.  She would tell other little girls and their mothers they looked beautiful, and while she sat perfectly still through the entire play with her hands clasping each other, I kept looking at her thinking the exact same thing. She is beautiful. Not just on the outside, either.  Gabriella has a compassion for people, a love for people that is indescribable. She is genuine and sincere and truly cares.  She is wise.  Wiser than I will ever be at her young age of 3 and I am in awe as I ponder what greatness she will one day achieve.  Something perfectly suited and tailored to her unique spirit and love for others.

As we drove home in the dark, she cried.  After meeting one of the actresses who said she would play with Gabriella, I had "taken her away!"  When the tears finally subsided, as only our family would do, we stopped for french fries and made our way back home to a daddy who had taken the time to call the theatre and request that the main actor make a special fuss over Gabriella.

And long after midnight, as my family was fast asleep, I was wide awake with a smile on my face...with excitement and joy that still lingered from a perfect night.  How lucky am I that I get to do this 2 more times, with 2 more equally special, unique little girls.  AND, we can keep doing it...for a lifetime.

Look, I'm pretty good at analyzing myself.  I know where my faults are and I know what I need to work on.  But, that stranger, the man who came up to me and said he could tell I cherished each moment...

I do.

I really do.

And I hope you do, too.

I can't wait to share the memories I'll be making on my next 2 dates!