So, last night as I crankily made a mocha with my new Tassimo (not all it's cracked up to be) Savannah danced around me peppering me with questions. You know, just making annoying yet endearing conversation as four year olds do.
As I cleared off the counter I noticed an empty cardboard paper towel tube. I picked it up, peered through it, and started acting like a ship's captain scanning the horizon for blonde little girls.
I rarely am spontaneously playful, so Savannah immediately lit up and started leaping around the living room avoiding being "caught" by the telescope.
"Hey, why don't we paint it?" I suggested.
Even as I said it, I thought 'Well, there goes my bath. We'll probably make a mess with the paints..." But, I pushed through.
It sometimes feels painful to me to be a good mom.
We spent the next half hour painting large bold metallic stripes around the tube. I told her that now that it was painted with sparkly paints we would be able to see all kinds of magical things when we looked through it again. Her eyes danced.
"Like what?" she asked, intrigued.
"Like castles and princesses. Waterfalls and horses. Mermaids."
"Mermaids?" she was amazed.
"You'll be able to see whatever you want to see" I assured her.
An hour later, after dinner, we took the new telescope upstairs and used it to stare into the sky. I went first and excitedly told her all the wonderful things I saw. She grabbed it from me hardly able to contain herself and had a look.
When (of course) she saw nothing more than the L.A. smog, I said "No. You have to see it up here", tapping her head. She gave it another try and squealed, "I see it! I see princesses! And a carriage! Being pulled by six horses! They have bows in their hair! And there's a waterfall!"
When she looked at me again, her eyes were so full of gratitude that I felt guilty.
How often do I make my daughter feel this way? How often do we use our imagination together and make her feel special? It is such an overwhelming responsibility when you know that you set the tone for your child's night - for their life - that sometimes you want to avoid it all together. They're so precious that you don't want to mess them up. You are so afraid of failing them that you do nothing - and fail them.
Sometimes I look at her and it hurts - it's actually painful because I love her so much that I can't bear to consider not doing this mom thing right. But, I know that she's not going to magically be a happy adult with a great adult relationship with me unless I make that happen now.
As moms, we have to make our own magic. She deserves to have the perfect mom. But, all she wants is me.
And all I want for her is to be able to always look through cardboard and see castles.