The scratchy little walrus voice asked for more pizza and then ran full force back outside to jump on the trampoline until it was too dark to see.
Living in Houston, which should be named the pollen capital of the world, I didn’t question the rough voice, especially after she had spent practically the past 24 hours outside enjoying the perfect spring day.
In fact the scratchy voice was so cute that we made a video and laughed over it.
She woke up fine the next morning and headed back outside for another day of scooter races and fort building.
So the next night when the hoarseness in her voice returned, I didn’t question it.
Until Sunday morning when I felt tiny little hands pull back the warm covers and crawl in next to me. But instead of the usual refrigerator that wakes me up most mornings, I was met with a furnace. Her back and cheeks were burning up and she whimpered that she had a bad headache.
So here we were, on a day that she had a performance at church and the absolutely perfect day to be outside, and yet we were camped out on the couch. All. Day. Long.
Dad and sisters headed off to church and I sat with her on the couch long enough to get her settled and then I hopped up to pick up a few things and start lunch in the pressure cooker. Within seconds, she was there – standing next to me, just waiting for me to finish and come sit back down with her.
I gladly headed back to the couch, knowing that soon enough the day will come when I embarrass her. I’ll gladly savor every drop that she gives me for now, or so I thought at that moment.
A trip to the bathroom with my sidekick in tow, followed by sweeping up some spilled dirt with her literally on my back, and I was happy to see everyone else walk back in from church.
Her sisters entertained her long enough for me to serve everyone lunch and then it was back to the couch where the furnace wanted to sit on me while she watched cartoon after cartoon.
I was in heaven for awhile. Don’t get me wrong, I love spending time with her and with all of my kids. But by 2pm I had been with her, as her personal chair for hours and hours.
Mama needed a break. So I turned on a new cartoon, gave her a newly charged device to play on and snuck away to the office to hang with Mr. Byrd.
And ten minutes later while our oldest was performing her handstand routine, a little sick thing with a pink bunny blanket around her shoulders arrived and climbed into my lap.
One more hour of watching mind numbing cartoon after cartoon on the couch and I had reached my limit.
So when we needed more medicine from the store, I gladly hopped in the van to go get it with my furry sidekick in tow.
And in the peace found in the aisles at Walgreens, my phone rang and I found Mr. Byrd on the other side of the call. “She found me. I was working at my desk and she just climbed into my lap.”
And the circle was complete.
Her and daddy wound up on the couch, just sitting and watching.
The cheese sticks and sweet tea I brought home made her feel better long enough for me to get outside and walk around the yard, planning what needs to be done this spring.
And then I glanced back toward the house and there she stood in the window, looking at me. A wave and a smile and she danced back to the TV.
One more lap around the yard and there she was again, staring at me from the backdoor. This time I called her outside to sit with me in the sun, hopefully soaking up the last little bit of Vitamin D for the day.
We sat there, together, until it was time to make dinner.
And somehow we made it through the rest of the day.
I tucked her in to her temporary bed on the couch Sunday night and breathed a sigh of relief. My own personal shadow was hopefully going to sleep through the night and wake up feeling better.
Lately I’ve seen her need less of me and I’ve grown accustomed to it. It’s bittersweet. I’m used to her independence and sometimes I miss having a baby around. In a way I feel guilty for needing some space to just breathe on Sunday.
But I know that the next time I blink she won’t want to sit in my lap or even live in the same house with me.
Being a mom is an amazing gift but it can be confusing. Your job is to raise them to be independent and self sufficient but you want to just hold onto those babies.
It’s so bittersweet.