Archive for May, 2020

After months (years?) of feeling far too short on Jules-time, I can finally affirm that I’m getting my fill.  And I’ve mostly loved it, loved finding out that Juliette is even funnier, more thoughtful, and brighter than I realized.  I had to go to the dentist last week and when I told Juliette that I’d be gone for a couple of hours, she wrapped her arms around me and sighed “But I’ll miss you so much, Mommy!”.  We are eating all this togetherness up.

Mostly.

There’s been a day or two when we’ve driven each other straight-up crazy, when her high energy and extreme extroversion wear me out and I’d give anything to ship her off to her Kindergarten teacher for a few hours.  But always, without fail, when I sneak into her room around 11 pm to give her one last kiss before I head to bed, all is forgiven.  Ahhhh, there you are, baby girl…

I mean…cool kid?

Let’s take a walk down memory lane, back to early February when eating lunch in a steamy ski lodge packed with a hundred strangers still seemed perfectly normal…  We took Juliette up to Snoqualmie for a romp on the slopes one Saturday and rode the Magic Carpet with her a dozen times and left that day feeling very affirmed – this kid was ready for ski lessons.  Sans parents!

I dropped her off at ski school the following Saturday with her best buddy and though she was a little reluctant to say good-bye to me, she dug deep in her courage reserves and scooted right into line behind her teacher.  You can do this, Jules!

And when I picked her up, she was soaking wet but smiling – she said the day felt long and kind of boring, but she was clearly proud of herself for making it through.  Someone buy this girl a grande hot chocolate!

And then…week two.  Week two drop-off was rough.  There was crying and pleading and pleeeease don’t leave me’s and fear in her face like I haven’t seen in awhile.  I looked at Shane and mouthed “do we really have to do this?”, but he was resolute, certain that she just needed a push in the right direction.  Preferably down a nice, gentle, powdery hill.  I reluctantly agreed, gave her a half-assed pep talk (I was crying too at this point!) and sent her off toward the chair lift.  The chair lift!  My. Heart.

But dang it if we didn’t come back four hours later to find this kid bubbling over with excitement.  “I rode the chair lift, Mommy!  And skied down all by myself!  That was so fun!” Wonders never cease.

Let’s also go back to a time when real school was still in session, back when we celebrated Juliette’s 100th day of Kindergarten and she dressed up like she was 100 years old, with baby-powdered hair and a toothless grin to round out the look.  I volunteered in her classroom for a party, where each kid counted out 100 pieces of cereal from a common bowl and then ate them.  Together.  While licking their fingers.  Shudder…

Still, it was sweet.

And then…March.  In March we started living our new reality.  Is anyone else marking time by P.C. (Pre-Covid) and I.C. (In-Covid)?  Juliette has been putting some serious miles on her bike these past couple of months, and our lunchtime rides through the neighborhood or to the grocery store for a cold drink are often the highlight of my day.  On one of our first rides, as we cruised past cherry blossoms and sang silly songs, she exclaimed, “This is so fun!  I wish we could do this every day, Mommy!”.  And then I put a recurring “Out of Office” block on my calendar at 12:30 pm.  It’s a date, kiddo.

We ride uphill, we ride downhill, we ride with one hand (her favorite new trick!), we ride with neighborhood kids, we ride like the wind.

Sometimes, on Friday mornings, we ride to the bakery.

(One-handed.)

And then refuel at home with a cream-filled donut.

She’s taken a handful of spills and has the banged-up knees to prove it, but she’s never down and out for more than a few minutes.  I call her my rough and tumble girl.

We’ve had a handful of weekends that have almost felt like summer, when we’ve turned on the sprinklers and pulled out the paddle board.  Juliette’s spirit shines so bright on sunny days.

Piano lessons were cancelled in early March, but Shane has carried the torch and spends nearly an hour every morning helping Juliette learn new songs (with the assistance of the iPad).  A couple of weeks ago, we set up the keyboard in the living room and she put on a recital for Shane’s parents.  Shane like the technical challenge of streaming the highest-quality video.  Juliette liked the extra attention.

One day, when she couldn’t find a human audience, she collected a ladybug from the yard, put it in a jar at the end of her keyboard, and spent the morning serenading it.  This kid will take companionship wherever she can find it!

Maybe it’s just a thirst for something to celebrate, but Juliette was pumped about Mothers Day and couldn’t wait to present me with a new pair of slippers and a new water bottle holder for my bike.

Plus, the loveliest backyard brunch with mimosas and french toast topped with fresh berries.  This girl and her dad really know how to come through in a clutch.

On days when we’re cooped up indoors and we’ve already put together all the Lego sets and done all the baking and exhausted our screen time allowance, Juliette asks if we can “get fancy” and paint our nails and do our hair.  Oh, girly…are you six?  Or sixteen?

Finally, a very (very) belated sixth birthday video, because there’s no time like quarantine to rifle through photos of us being out and about.  Look at those tiny little front teeth!  That curly hair!  How you’ve already changed…  But even in these pandemic times, your spirit is as vibrant as ever, Juliette Grace.