“Mommy, are you feeling better? Is your tummy better?”
She’s been awake for just a half hour. In that time her mind remembers I didn’t feel well last night and her heart asks if all is better. I smile at her thoughtfulness and at how much she cares.
But then she struggles while I try to get her dressed. It’s a game to her, not a morning necessity that should be done quickly so we can all move forward with the busy day, as it is to me.
At breakfast, she picks out her own cereal and gets her own vitamins. And I smile at her independence. Not even three years old and she can do things on her own. But then I get frustrated because she won’t feed the cats.
Plate by plate, fork by fork, she empties the bottom shelf of the dishwasher. Leaving the sharp knives for me, because she knows. She listens. And I smile at how eager she is to help.
“What would I do without you?”
And I smile at her innocence. And the truth behind her statement. Nothing. Nothing worth mentioning, for sure.
But then I get frustrated again. She won’t get up and put on her shoes. Because she wants to play one more game before we leave and this she will fight me on with whines and slow feet and pouts. And my mind is only thinking about my packed day and all of the things I need to do.
She climbs into the car all on her own while I load the ever increasing pile of bags we take with us each day. I buckle her in and slide behind the wheel.
“I love you.”
And I smile. Those words will echo in my heart for the rest of the day. Reminding me that she comes before my to-do list, before my rush to work. Reminding me that amidst my frustration in the places where we struggle, she is one amazing little girl. And she loves me.