Quality Time

I took my Sophie to get her nails done yesterday afternoon. One of my goals this month was to take each child on at least one individual outing so that we could have some sweet uninterrupted time. Sophie was first on the list for many reasons, the least of which is she’d been begging me to take her for a pedicure for months.

Nine, I’m learning, is a funny age. Sophie’s precariously straddling the world between child and tween (I hate that word and yet I don’t know what other one to use). Her sense of humor is strange to all of us but her close friends, and her emotional buttons are triggered with little warning.In short, these days she can be hard to figure out. I was hoping a few hours by ourselves would be helpful in bridging this gap.

We had a good time. Lots of chatting and though Sophie’s humor seemed to appear in the strangest of moments, we enjoyed each other. On our way home we swung by the mall to pick up Paul, Noah and Stella. While we were waiting for them to come out Sophie turned pale and shaky. In a matter of minutes she’d become quiet and withdrawn and it was clear something was wrong. Once she said “I don’t feel so good,” I pulled her out of the car. And just in time.

Poor thing spent the rest of the afternoon and evening laying on the couch or bathroom floor. Her whimpering and shaking took me to that dark mother place where you can do nothing but hold her hair and rub her back to help.

As we laid in bed just before sleep last night Sophie said, through her broken and hoarse voice, that there was one thing she liked about being sick. She said the only good thing was that when you were sick you could see how much your family loved you.

And in that moment I recognized that as fun and important as dates with each child can be, it is really more the time in between-the packing lunches, the tuck ins, and the holding hair moments that define my relationship with each of them.

At the end of a rough day it wasn’t the fun nails, or the time without her little sister, or the treat from the deli that Sophie treasured. It was simply that when it counted,
I held her hair back.

And that alone is enough to keep me going.

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