I am superstitious so I’ve held off writing about it, but it seems legit so I’m going to tell you guys anyway. In the week that I’ve been home for summer, Cole and Avery have taken to me. When I told Lynnette about it she was in full-Lynnette mode. “That’s what happens! Don’t you remember when you stayed home with Madison for all those summers?” she said. “I…I forgot,” I said. I really have. Then as now, those first few summers were about survival (and lying about how my kid got a black eye – which I guess, is just another type of survival).
Two days ago when I was changing Cole’s diaper, he randomly pointed up and me and shouted “Da-da!” I cocked my head back, stunned. “Yes!” I said. “Da-da!” he said again, then started clapping. Today while we sat in the Pearlridge Taco Bell (yes, Cole and Avery were in the red plastic wagon) I got out of my seat to get food. As I walked away Cole shouted “Da-da!” over and over, excitedly. I didn’t hear it or it didn’t register at first. I made it halfway through the restaurant, then turned and waved at him. He seemed satisfied. He squealed when he saw me return. We’re going to be great friends right up until the moment Coach Phil comes out of retirement.
It’s a little different with Avery. She’s spent the first 18 months of her life barely acknowledging me – especially in Lynnette’s presence. But that’s started to change, too. It’s as if she can see me clearly for the first time. She turns to look at me when I call her name. She doesn’t mind if I hold her. She likes to sit in my lap when she watches Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Most of all, though, I see it through the view finder of my camera. She smiles for me. She rarely ever did that. Most of the pictures I have of her smiling were caught in the middle of the smile. This week, she’s broken out some pretty gorgeous smiles for me. It hits me so hard that I panic. I’ve messed up one shot because I got too excited and shook the camera.
Honestly, it doesn’t even feel familiar. I spent parts of the last two days trying to remember what it was like to spend all that time with Madison during those first two years but those memories are mostly gone from my head. I remember those summers that came later – the beach, the hikes, the playground tour. It’s been so long that what’s happening now with Cole and Avery feels brand new. It’s amazing. Every couple of days I feel like they know me a little more, love me a little more. That’s a pretty great summer already, you know?