red peach, recipe of love ::::
Peach is vibrant girl, full of creative ideas to catch leprechauns, make our cat capes fashioned from paper and tape, and avid artist of all things Disney princess. She is a fast runner. She likes to joke around. She is a focused learner, loving math and learning to read. When she asked if she could dye her hair bright pink, Eat and I thought, “why not?” It seemed appropriate for her personality. In February, just before Valentine’s Day, after hunting for bright pink hair color and not finding it, she settled on a bright, rich red. We spent one Saturday morning transforming her dark brown hair to this stunning red. Reactions from kids and parents were immediate — and surprisingly varied. While most kids thought Peach’s transformation was “cool” or “pretty, like Ariel the mermaid,” some parents were appalled at our decision to allow her to do this to her hair. Eat and I agree that it’s just hair. She’s not asking for a tattoo at age 6. She’s not piercing her bellybutton in kindergarten. Who cares if it’s permanent dye? Her natural color will reappear. And Peach is happy with her hair afire, a red streak across the playground at school, a burst of color to match that whirlwind of personality. Tattoos and piercings may come later when she is cognitively able to make decisions on more truly permanent alterations to her body.
We enter into April now, her dark brown roots more evident, the distal hem of hair more auburn than red. The parents who had eyefuls of disapproval don’t notice anymore. The kids on the school playground don’t comment much on the color. Peach doesn’t stain the bath towels red anymore when she dries her hair out of the shower. We all are used to the color and the shape, that initial excitement forgotten. Things seem mundane, muted, and kind of boring to her.
But look closer. Revisit the red again, how bright and exciting. In essence, don’t forget that initial rush of your children’s first doings, their small but memorable quips, or the eventual repetition of these things. Lately, in my busy work schedule trying to get ready for a move to a new hospital, preparing for two new offices, and additionally anticipating where Eat’s job will take us (away from these new offices), and the heart-wrenching goodbyes we will make to friends at work, church, and our neighborhood, I have become enveloped in the routine of survival. No sitting around on the weekend watching the dust motes hang in the late afternoon sun. No lengthy cuddling with each of my three children every day. I hardly have time to enjoy the birdsong of spring. There is no time to pick up my guitar (it’s been months!). Today, I am remembering those days with children, trying to hold onto each day longer even though the core of survival hinges on getting past each day to some end.
I stare at Peach, sleeping in this photo, girl afire, trying to etch it into my brain. I also see Grub when he tilts his head to the side with a smirky smile when he asks for something that he knows it just out of his reach. And I hug sweet Sky-Girl, a roly-poly weather pattern from crying downpour to sunny Sky in minutes, my forever baby, no matter how tall she grows.
Enjoy your babies, no matter how big they are or how tired you are.