Recently i was doing my daily ritual photo recap, where at the end of the day when Veda is asleep i look at videos and photos of the day gone by. I do this all the time, but on this particular day i felt a sadness well up. As i watched a video of her eating dinner and bathing in our kitchen sink, it was as though i was seeing it for the first time. But I was there. I took the video, obviously. I was inches from the bubbles and the sausage and the naked joy. Yet seeing it on film made me feel like i wasn't even there. Watching it again, retrospectively, was even sweeter then the moment itself. How is that possible? Laying in bed that night i thought about this. When Veda was an infant i didn't let a sun beam pass over her golden hair without taking it into my core. I registered things like her unique exhale or the way she wrinkled her nose in my soul. These days, on the other hand, i find that i often appreciate her most in retrospect, through photos when she is sleeping. It's not that i'm not present for the moments of fleeting golden sunbeams, it's just that so much is happening with every single beat that i hardly have the time to take it in before something else is occurring. It's not like I'm not present when were together. I am so there. As a general rule, to which my family can attest through their selfish irritation, i never have my phone on hand. I am committed to being with Veda, really being with her. I am as there as one could be without completely neglecting basic life needs (which happens plenty) and with the obvious limitations of the human mind and it's need to wander.
A day in the life of us is like a rocket takes off at 6am and then lands us at bath time around 6pm. By the time we're up to our ears in bubbles and California Baby shampoo, i'm literally grasping at my hair strewn face to make sure all my parts are still in tact. That ride from morning to night goes so fast! And also, sometimes, painfully slow.
Maybe that's toddlerhood. Maybe that's parenthood. Maybe it's just Veda's temperament and personality. Likely some combination of all those things. Veda definitely tends to operate with just a little extra umph. From laughter and smiles to meltdowns and tears, its all just a bit more heightened with her. Everything in constant motion at all times. Her intensity is electric and most people can feel the love that beams from her, but maybe that's at least a small part of what makes savoring her in the moment more challenging. Not because she isn't delicious! By god, she is the yummiest for sure. And i treasure our time together, but with it all moving so fast i can hardly digest and integrate it. It's like someone throwing the world's best pie right at your face. Some of it make it into your mouth, part of it is wildly fun, perhaps some of the impact kinda hurts and the rest of it just leaves a giant mess. So when that pie is napping you spend a lot of said quiet time just trying to make heads or tails of your house.
The weird thing is, at a birds eye view our days may actually appear peaceful and slow paced. And some of it is. Some of our days are gloriously still, watching ants and walking Brooklyn, but in between are NO's and resistance and frustrations and monitoring the sharing minefield and so many demands it would take a whole page just to note them. "Up." "Tuna." "No." "Park, park, park!" "Mama!" "More!" "No!" Melting down because she doesn't want shoes on both of her feet, just one, or because i told her we had to leave the park or because she is teething and that creates an edge that makes everything just plain wrong from her point of view. From afar motherhood can look like the walk in the park that it quiteliterally is, but up close there is so much happening from navigating the negativism of toddlerhood, allowing for space but being completely available, understanding the emotional development de jour, looking for positive ways to approach the challenging stuff, being loving and patient through exhaustion, all while singing and teaching and narrating constantly.
The magic days are not over with the end of infanthood. I think now it's more enchanted then ever. But these days are so loud and messy and emotional... it's hard to take it all in until the stimuli is settled and the sun has set. In the quiet of the night i can finally digest my day and really bask what a bad ass little girl i have on my hands.
The 5 rhythms of life/dance as taught by Gabrielle Roth are as clear as they are ever gonna be through life with a toddler. In just a 10 minute span we can go from flowing and lyrical to chaos to staccato and then to pure stillness. It's wonderful and awe inspiring how much she moves through without any story line at all. Everything just flows. As most gurus are, my teacher Veda Moon is piercing and cozy all at once. She challenges my presence, perception and patience, and all i know is that i have grown leaps and bounds since the day she was born. The rocket we're on is unforgivingly fast. I couldn't recall each precious moment we've had though a few divinely mundane ones definitely stand out, unfaded by time. And as we've been traversing light years through galaxies of stars, i know that i am better because of her and that i love her more deeply then i may ever be able to fully take in with one breath. And maybe that's just it. Maybe the Love of a Mother is so big, it just takes re-experiencing the captured moments in order to truly stomach the fullness of it. Maybe the exhaustion and sleep deprivation just puts everything in soft focus... making the moment blurred slightly and the memories romantic. Maybe too it takes a slight stepping back to appreciate the full picture, because when you have your nose to the screen of your life it's hard to appreciate just how stunning it really is in all it's messy glory.