I have a lot of mixed feelings about Wallis turning 5 and half. I really thought we’d be further along in the pandemic by now, and I could feel relieved that some of the old things we use to do, which are now new to her again (because honestly she doesn’t remember much of her life pre-Covid). It is heartbreaking.
I was never going to be one of those schedule my kid for all the after school activities kind of parent or let’s strap them to my back and visit all the destinations kind of parent. We take it slow around here, but even in my simplistic way of seeing childhood, I am still yearning for what could have been. Wallis turned 4 when the pandemic hit, she turned 5 still in a pandemic, and now 5 and half…I carry so much sadness about it all, as I know many do.
When Wallis turned 5, I told myself that I needed to do a better job of writing down the things she says that make me smile. I have done this randomly over the years, but I really wanted to try harder this year. So I decided for Wallis’ 5.5 year post, I would post those here…they should give you a pretty good sense of what a gem she is, and how truly blessed our lives our to love and to know her.
⁃ Wallis staring out the window as I drive her home from the park listening to folk music and saying, “I love you mama.”
⁃ “Mama would you like you to go to space?” M – “I would but I would miss you too much if I went” W – “I would draw you pictures of myself to keep you company” M – “but pictures can’t talk back” W – “then I would create a nutcracker that looked just like me, use a voice box to add my voice to it and it would talk to you.”
⁃ “Mama, I love you past the midnight zone all the way to the Hydrothermal vents.”
⁃ “Mama I want to take care of you.”
⁃ “Oh look at my beautiful sister!” (when she saw Loris in the bath)
⁃ Every night at bedtime, “Mama I have 3 things to tell you, my bed is so cozy. Sweet Dreams. Goodbye. See you dark and early!”
⁃ “Mama, you are beautiful and I love you.”
⁃ “Mama, I love you past God.”
⁃ “Dada I can’t wait to see you in the morning.”
– “Mama I want to be a doctor, I want to be a scientists, I want to be a veterinarian…I want to be everything!” To which I respond, and you can be! She doesn’t know that I wanted to be a veterinarian until I took care of a llama…so I imagine she’ll work through her list too, ha!
⁃ Wallis did a puppet theater that had a penguin who was traveling all over the world, but a mysterious car kept following the penguin everywhere it went…the story concluded with it being the penguins mama in the car. Wallis totally nailed me as a parent, ha!
⁃ Mom – “Dada has been so fun today!” Wallis replies “well he got some sleep.”
⁃ “Buy that book!” After every single virtual storytime. Wallis LOVES books, all the books, she will stop anything if someone is reading, and she loves to be read to. She is immediately transfixed, never bored. I love that about her and I am doing my best to feed that part of her spirit.
⁃ “Mama I had a dream that I was walking in a park with dada and we got separated. A very old lady took me home and only fed me banana soup.”
⁃ “I know how I can be a doctor and a scientist! I will be a doctor FOR scientists!”
⁃ “I want to save the planet. I’m tired of this pandemic- enough is enough.”
⁃ “I’ll be an paleontologist for Halloween, Mama you be the bones and Loris will be the fossilized dinosaur poop.”
⁃ Talking to her dad. “Did you know that a skunk’s stink can last for 14 days…dada you must be part skunk because your breath has been stinky forever.”
⁃ “Mama I want to tell you something, a Dugong is a sea cow, it’s called a sea cow because it eats sea grass, ok, bye!” Wallis is like living with an encyclopedia, this happens a hundred times a time, I can’t keep up, ha!
⁃ “Mama now that we are alone can I tell you something?” “Mama I love you so much, you break my heart, I never want to be away from you and when you die I’ll never stop crying.”
⁃ Picking up Loris’ very wet diaper and saying, “mama you got to feel this, it’s huge!” Or if its a big poo, “mama you gotta come see this, it’s HUGE!”
– I got frustrated at Andrew about something and Wallis replied, “when will they learn?” Ha!
⁃ To Loris, who is constantly bumping into everything. “Gil, you have got to look behind you!” Gil is how Wallis says “girl”
⁃ Wallis balancing toys on her elephant “Mama look at how strong this elephant is. M – “I see he must have been eating a lot of spinach.” W – “Oh no he only eats the frosting off cakes, but the two in the back that he’s holding up, they eat broccoli and spinach.”
⁃ Wallis found a moth sleeping in her outdoor playhouse and when it flew off she said, “they grow up so fast.”
⁃ “Mama you buy the best gifts. They are my favorite, sometimes I see something you’ve got me and think, can she read my mind Gil?” (Again, gil, is how Wallis says, “girl.”)
⁃ “You don’t know my name” when she thought Andrew was mad at her. This was her way of expressing to Andrew that she felt ignored by him. Andrew was trying to keep the situation calm (Wallis was melting down) but instead, Wallis felt ignored, and it broke my heart to think because she’s never had that feeling before, or even knows the word in that context, this was how she expressed it.
⁃ When we were at the playground, one of Wallis’ friends fell and I gasped loudly and then I said, “oh I’m sorry about my loud gasp” and Wallis without missing a beat, “she’s working on it.” She’s right, but also the timing was perfect.
⁃ “Mama I had a great idea to keep Loris from sucking on her binki. I tied a very long string to it and when she would put it in her mouth I would pull the string and the binki would fall out, she had no idea! But then I tripped over the string, so I’m done with that idea.”
⁃ “Mama sorry I was late for dinner, I just kept building and building, my mind was sparkling with ideas!”
⁃ “Dada I pray to God every night.” D – “that’s lovely, what do you talk about?” W – “I pray that I can go into my shows. I just know I can get into them some day.” Wallis longs to be the characters she loves in her TV shows, she asks me often how she can get inside her shows. Childhood is seriously magic, and I truly wish I could make that happen for her.
– Andrew was frustrated that the girls were not coming with him when he asked them to and said, “I told you, they orbit around you and with me, they try to get away to get to you” and Wallis replied like some old sage, “it is just different with mama.”
– Wallis has a book all about pirates but because she has no idea what guns are, she refers to long guns as “brooms” and short guns as “hand drills” and it makes me smile each time, I don’t plan to correct her, ha!
– Every night Wallis says the same thing to Loris, “good night, remember they’re just dreams, they’re not real and they’re not in your bedroom.”
– Wallis often exclaims, “this is the best day ever!” over rather simple joys (like me buying popsicles) which always makes me smile.
– “Mama how did you learn to sing so beautifully? I want to sing like you.”
– The other day I told Andrew not to open the front door so wide, that I didn’t want the whole neighborhood to see my bum cheeks, I was in my underwear. So Wallis on her way outside to play, thinking she’s doing me a favor, exclaims very loudly to the whole neighborhood, “don’t look at my mamas bum cheeks!” It was 7 am.
– Our neighbor’s grandson was visiting and when he does he always says hi to Wallis (they are the same age). Wallis came in from being outside and said, “he was sitting in the grass looking sad, so I blew him some bubbles, and then I blew him a flower, but he wouldn’t look up, he wouldn’t even give me a crumb!” ha!
– “Mama how did you meet dada” I tell her the story. Wallis replies, “I am going to marry Loris next week, because we love each other too.”
– “Mama when I grow up I am going to invent a vaccine that keeps everyone from dying.” Wallis like most young kids is concerned about death. She knows animals die, so she made the connection one day and it’s been a topic of conversation ever since. One thing that comforts her is to say, “well Loris is young like me, so she will always be here.” I wish I could spare her from all of it.
This isn’t something Wallis said, but something I always want to remember. Anytime she is alone in my room daylight or night, she puts the light on in our closet and closes the door. I remember fears like that as a child, and when I find that light on I can’t help but sigh, ache and love her even more.
So far 5 hasn’t been without its harder moments, I think Wallis has had the most meltdowns she’s ever had this year, which for her is not many. She is good at expressing her feelings because we have allowed space for them, but she has a hard time with expectations and when things don’t go as she had hoped (what kid doesn’t?). I think she also struggles with Loris getting older and being able to do more and more things – she does say those sibling things like, “you should love me the most, you had me first” to which we reply, “we’ve loved you the longest” and though not exactly what she wants to hear, she seems to accept it the best she can.
But not a day goes by that I don’t look at her and just feel so lucky to be her mama. She truly is the most extraordinary, kind, thoughtful, creative, and smart child and I can’t believe I get to spend the rest of my life knowing her.
She tells me all the time that she is never leaving home, that she will work but will still live with me because she wants so badly to become a doctor scientist, but never wants to be away from me. Every time she tells me that, I feel sad knowing time will change the rhythm of those words, but hopefully if I do this job as well as I can, she will come home to me again and again and again.
Happy 5.5 years my love, thank you for those big morning hugs, thank you for your intensity, your caring, and sharing your heart with us all, open and vulnerable and full of endless joy to greet the day. You are so loved!