Mom Notes: Adventures In Memory Making
Next week, Alexa turns 7 (and Goldie turns 3. Yup, they are 5 days- and 4 years- apart. I joke that clearly I drink a lot of Tito's vodka every April.). 7 is a PERSON. A person who is almost as tall as me, reads books, writes stories, draws emojis, obsesses over YouTube stars that make me cringe, watches shows that are not animated, and expresses strong opinions (well, she had those since she was born but now, they have reasoning behind them- whether or not the reasoning is rational is a whole other story).
This year I notice more than ever the weight of my actions as a mom, especially as it pertains to how certain moments and details become memories. Alexa can articulate little things that she remembers so clearly, and other things- bigger things, in my mind- that I remind her about, she has no recollection of. Weird how that happens, right? But I guess it makes sense, speaking to all the sayings about the importance of the little things/its the little things that matter/yada yada yada.
Which brings me to yesterday. It was a snow day- the most perfect kind, in my opinion, because the snow was falling so fast and it was so windy there really was no option to leave the house, and I am the ultimate homebody. My husband was traveling for work, so it was "girl time"- the morning was spent watching Lex & Goldie take turns doing ballet performances (which you may have seen in my Instagram Story if you follow me there), sugar cookies and messes and even a museum dedicated to the "first baby who was ever in a movie" (Alexa's idea, incorporating Goldie's beloved new Luvabella doll from Christmas) were made.
By 7pm, we were SPENT. As I was looking for a show that everyone could agree on to watch for 30 minutes before starting bedtime, I noticed that 3 of my (and hence, Alexa's- perhaps by force but I like to think by choice) favorite moves of all time were on: "Annie" (the original, obv.), "Mary Poppins" and "The Sound of Music". Sure, they were wayyyy longer than 30 minutes. But in a moment of "WHAT THE F, I GOT THIS" brevity, I suggested we watch one.
Goldie was being a crazy lunatic and can't sit still if anything besides "Minnie Mouse Bowtique" or "Goldie & Bear" is on the screen, so somehow, I was able to get her upstairs and to bed while Alexa proudly showed our au pair the previews of the movie options and described each in detail (proud musical-theater-freak-mom-moment). They decided on on "Annie" (YAY!), and we piled blankets over us and settled in for the show.
In my head, as I mentally justified not getting my to-do's done during the day in order to engage in snow day shenanigans, I figured the girls would be in bed by 8pm, giving me the entire evening to myself. That time would be used finishing up some marketing concept work for a client, front-loading blog post links for next week, going all Marie Kondo method on Brian's closet drawers, cleaning out my bathroom cabinets and, by 10:30pm, tucking myself into bed to watch Vice News (anyone else obsessed with this show?) and scroll social media aimlessly until I fell asleep.
Well, "Annie" is a long movie. 2 hours and 10 minutes- not counting the pauses for bathroom breaks and such. When I first sat down next to Alexa and looked at the clock under the TV and did the math, I had a moment of panic realizing that bedtime was gonna look more like 10pm than 8. At that exact moment, she reached her little hand out to me, and said "Mommy, will you snuggle with me?", and curled in to me in the sweetest way ever. We proceeded to sing every song aloud together, discuss the merits of Grace wearing her hair up versus down- Lex agrees with Annie that is looks SO much better down, debate the timeline of what happened to Annie's birth parents, and, at the final scene, reminisce about how Alexa & I used to dance almost every night before bed to "I Don't Need Anything But You" with a whole choreographed routine.
At first, she actually didn't remember that part of her bedtime routine. And my heart momentarily sank- that memory is so special and clear to me, and it drove home just how many moments we, as parents, hold on to that our young children will never know happened at all.
But after a little more prompting ("Lex, remember you would sing Annie's part and I was Warbucks and you loved the line about 'yesterday was plain awful/you can say that again' and had a funny move to go with it?") she remembered. And it also reminded her of the song she would dance to with Brian when he did bedtime duty (Animal Action, one of those you-can't-help-but act-it-out-like-an-idiot kid's tunes), and how he would always make us laugh doing his impression of a Rooster.
While I don't know if she will remember all the moments that I will (or at least that I hope I will- hence my obsession with writing, I live in fear of forgetting), I know she will remember cuddling up watching "Annie" at the end of a cozy snow day and staying up way past her bedtime on a school night. I knew it when I suggested it, and I knew it as I rested my head on top of hers while she held my hand and made sure we both had enough blankets to be extra toasty.
So, Brian's drawers are still a mess. And I stayed up until 1am on my computer. But guess what? Giving Alexa one more childhood memory to look back on and smile about someday was totally worth it.
"Enjoy the little things, because one day you may look back and realize they were the big things."- Robert Brault