Katie, asleep under Pinky, somewhere in South Carolina
Blankets are important. I never had a special blanket (admission: thumb sucker). But I have known a few critically important "blankies" in my day. The girls love theirs.
Anna's is mission critical at all times. Since she was a tiny tiny she gravitated toward a yellow crocheted blanket made by Sister Immaculata, my high school home room teacher. Her name is Boo. Misplace her at your peril.
Katie loves Pinky. Dear friend Ann Gallagher gave her Pinky when she was born. Maddie Brown Bear was top dog for the first few years; but Pinky has become the go-to friend in the last two years. She is cape, stole, tutu, toga, tent, pillow, sunshade.... everything you want in a friend.
Our summer road trip is going well, and at each stop, I make sure Pinky and Boo are in the car seats, ready for a few hundred miles.
The other night, we were actually staying in the same location for two nights in a row. I grew careless.
We went out for an evening BBQ at Aberdeen Farm on the James River. Beautiful night. Beautiful friends and family. I came prepared with PJs and the girls settled in with their new friends. Anna with Boo, and Katie with..... well, two water babies (the twins, Molly and Emma), her singamajig, Merlia, the mermaid Barbie, Zuma, her pink glitter dolphin friend, and.... no Pinky.
Pinky was safe in the Hampton Inn, nestled cozily in the duvet. Where, I mistakenly assumed, she would not be missed for the evening. hahahahahaaha
She was missed.
Vocally, repeatedly, mournfully, missed. Making a 15 minute drive into an eternity. No consolation from the front seat could improve the situation.
Anna spoke up. Words, weighted with understanding, from a fellow blanket lover offered,
Well, the girls are done with their "sharkies." But it isn't safe to go back in the water.
I, personally, am a fan of life jackets in the backyard pool. And kickboards. And noodles. But then, I'm just the Mom.
Last June, a classmate of Katie's sank to the bottom of a backyard pool during a party. With tons of adults around. She was brought up by a 9 year old boy and my friend Tara kept her alive with CPR. She recovered miraculously after a month in Children's Hospital and just finished Kindergarten at The Academy.
The day after it happened I went and bought two lifejackets shaped like sharks and the girls haven't taken them off since.
As much as we use our pool, it comes with a LOT of fear and anxiety for me. And a lot of work for my Pool Boy. But the girls love it. Katie's natural caution has made it a great experience so far. Lots of tea parties. Mermaid melodramas. Some kicking. A lovely way to spend an afternoon in the Alabama heat.
BP - Before the Push
Yesterday, Anna decided she needed to learn how to retrieve dive rings from the bottom of the pool.
Some things you should know: Anna is buoyant. Super buoyant.
And fiercely independent.
I put on her goggles, and let her go for it. The dive rings, to date, had simply been used as jewelry for the tea parties. I could handle my fear to let her learn.
But she couldn't get down to the rings. Her bottom kept her bobbing on the surface while she reached and reached for her prize. And she wouldn't lift her head until she got one. She ended several tries coughing and gagging; but then would go back under without hardly pausing for a breath. Finally she looks at me and says,
"Mama, you have to push me."
I am pushy. That is for sure.
But I do not excel at the motivational PUSH.
I am trying to learn.
This seemed to be my chance.
So, I took my dear sweet angel that I carried through the 100 degree summer heat, the one I bounced for hours upon hours when she wouldn't sleep for the first 8 weeks, the one who has had multiple ENT surgeries so she can breathe through the night, and pushed her right down to the bottom of the pool.
It was horrible. My stomach was in knots. I was a wreck.
And then she burst through the surface with a ring in her upraised fist.
We're still working on the finer points. Like not inhaling while underwater. And stopping the open mouthed laughter before jumping in off the side of the pool. But she is amazing. And I'm pretty proud of myself too.
I have a feeling this is not the last time that I will feel equal parts paralyzing fear and overwhelming pride.
Or the last time she will have to push me, so that I can push her.
Another birthday themed post...
Ronnie B. is a Memorial Day baby and it really is the best weekend of the year. We got a MUCH needed rest from end of school activities, spent time with friends, and got lots of Brown family time. As noted in April, the mama really deserves the credit...
Thank you, Mary Lou, on a job very very well done.