There is always that melancholy at the end of a truly remarkable vacation. As we drove home through the winding mountain road, I wished for a few more days of calm, a few more days of mountain sunrises, a few more days of glassy lakes, and a few more days of bliss.
But as we settled back in to our routine in our own home, I thought to myself, well, ordinary time is pretty perfect too.
If you were here you would see a toddler seeking independence and exploring her boundaries but still pausing to look around for familiar and encouraging faces. You would see two proud and slightly frazzled parents chasing after an energetic toddler with an ever-evolving sleep schedule. You would find that barefooted toddler enjoying the evening breeze coming through the window before rubbing her tired eyes and making one last mess before bed.
Warm days are filled with splashing feet and excited squeals while we escape the heat in our tot-sized pool. Quiet mornings are for painting and mess-making followed by blanket forts and piles of books before an afternoon nap. Some days we take long walks, stop to glance up at the towering oaks, or plop right down on the sidewalk halfway through.
We build towers of blocks. We dance to Disney music. We share a bowl of goldfish when we need a salty fix. Walk after walk and book after book, our ordinary time bounces from activity to activity because sitting still is just not an option. Naps are dreaded by one but craved for by others. Shushing, songs, bouncing, and bribes are a nap time dance. There are those quiet moments when she finally settles, strokes her bear, and stops fighting sleep. The room is filled with sounds of heavy breathing and the tiptoeing across the bedroom floor trying not to step on that squeaking floor board.
Dinner comes and we fill the sink to wash veggies. The sounds of chopping are mingled with post-nap energetic babbling and more messes in the toy corner. We sit on the porch waiting for the sun to set and allow for one more mess before a warm bubble bath.
Other days we walk to the public library and greet the other babies and toddlers at the weekly sing-a-long. We clap and dance and shake tambourines and maracas. We learn new nursery rhymes and try to sing them on our way home.
More messes, more dances, and lunch time PBS. A little girl wanting to wear a watch like her mom and insisting to wear it around the whole apartment showing it off. We cuddle her stuffed animals and we read Halloween books.
She fights her nap but settles in when I sing her favorite songs and read Goodnight Moon, again.
...It's pretty special.