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Archive for July, 2009

It was a cosmic intersection: Seal, Banana Republic, Delaney, and I all converging on a moment in time. And it was one of the sweetest moments of my life. Worth writing about to try to capture some semblance of the moment.

Last weekend, Kyle, Delaney, and I made a trek down to the Sawgrass Mills Mall in Sunrise, Florida. I’ve had dreams about the Mall of America, and I’m sure this is not nearly as large. But believe me when I say it was the biggest place I’ve ever shopped. And it’s shaped like an alligator to boot.

Don’t ask. Not sure.

We made it through the equivalent of 3/4 of one section of it, which is probably 15% of the mall. It’s enormous.

The shopping was great. Thanks for asking. And those of you who know me well know that normally that might be the focus of this moment.

Not this time.

So, we were shopping for Kyle, who needed new casual clothes. We hit Brooks Brothers 346, Gap, and Banana Republic and even got some lunch in at the Rainforest Cafe (best fish tacos I’ve ever had, incidentally. so, so yummy.).

When all was said and done, we spent probably four and a half hours at the mall. Great for Kyle’s wardrobe. Potentially not-so-great if you’re toting a nine-and-a-half-month-old around.

But she was a trooper, as she so often is. Just such a wonderful little soul.

So, we’re in the home stretch in Banana Republic, and Kyle is showing no signs of slowing down (in real time, this is hour four of shopping). He’s got two pairs of bootcut khakis and two shirts, and he looks at me and says,”I’m going to go into the clearance section to look around.”

(I’m thinking that now would be a good time to ask him to see a chick flick with me, because what has he done with my husband?)

As he enters the clearance section, Delaney starts to crank up a bit. She was in the Ergo, and she started to stiffen and whine a bit. She hadn’t napped all day, so I knew she was crispy. I thought a change of scenery was the key, so I put her in the stroller.

Wrong answer.

So, now crank is upped to eleven for her (my salute to Spinal Tap, for those of you who love Christopher Guest flicks), which is still probably only a five or six compared to other kids. But for her, I know it’s time to act.

I try to get my beloved’s attention, but he’s enthralled with a blue blazer missing buttons that’s 60% off. (I believe his exact words were,”I can’t afford not to get it!” Seriously, what have you done with my husband?)

Once, twice, three times.

“Kyle. . . Kyle . . . Kyle.”

Finally, “KYLE!” (Followed quickly by the,”I wasn’t being bitchy, I just wanted your attention.” Because, let’s face it, that could have become the next issue vs. keeping our eye on the ball–the ball being Delaneys’ needs, of course. Crisis averted.)

I’m not sure, but I think he had swirls in his eyes when he looked at me. Seriously, I think he’s going to leave me for Banana Republic.

Oh well, it couldn’t happen to a nicer couple.

I had swirls in my eyes for a different reason: we had arrived at the mall at 11 a.m., before it got to be a zoo. However, now it’s 3:30 p.m., and zoo would be a nice word for what was happening around me. Banana Republic was buzzing with kinetic shopping energy. I’d like to say it energized me. Not so.

Not so for Delaney either. She needed some quiet, some recharging. Nursing always does the trick. Miraculous.

Anyway, so I grab the bug and we go off in search of a dressing room to nurse. This is where I have to use my assessment skills every time to figure out the best way to either (1) sneak in so no one knows we’re there or (2) approach the keeper-of-the-dressing-room (too often some really thin blond named Brittany or Taylor) in such a way that we get our room.

[An aside: it might sound weird that we have to do that. Or maybe it doesn’t. I’m not sure. I don’t know many people who nurse this long, so I only know what I do. Dressing rooms have become a staple for our shopping days, because it’s private and quiet. I do what I can to use them, even it if means pulling a few god-forsaken pieces from the Sag Harbor collection to tote in there with me to look legit. Come to think of it, since I’m not buying–or even trying on for that matter–I think I’ll start pulling from Ralph Lauren, size 2 to take in with me. I mean, hey, why not shoot high?]

So, we go in, and three very young but very friendly girls are there. My assessment says play on the cuteness of the baby and act confident like I’m going to do it no matter what they say, which takes the form of me starting down the hall before they actually give me permission. Oh yeah, and look a little bit frazzled and elicit sympathy.

Tall order, but I think I can do it.

First response: “Um, there’s a bathroom right back there. You could use that.” (I think there was hair-twirling and gum-smacking, but I might be just imagining that.

I kind of looked at her confused and said,”Um, I need to feed her. Can I use a dressing room?”

Second response: “Oh, I thought you said change her. Okay, I guess we’re not too busy.”

Split-second assessment followed by manipulative technique coming: “We’ll only be five minutes or so. If you get busy, just knock on the door.” (as if someone would actually do that!)

So, there we were, in our dressing room, feeling relieved, because you never know how people are going to be about it.

Delaney was powerful hungry, and it was if her body sighed in relief as she settled in. She was immediately tired, and within three minutes tops, she was asleep in my arms, lying across my body, lifeless. And I was amazed again how nursing seems to erase the past. It’s like a reset button on my little love. It’s miraculous.

I sat there for a minute looking at her, loving her so much I thought I might explode. She looked as content as a soul could be, which brought me back to the only thing that matters: the present.

I gingerly got out the dressing room door and whispered a thank you to the sales associates as we passed. And we re-entered Banana Republic’s shopping crackfest with people scurrying about, clothing strewn everywhere.

But this time, I wasn’t a part of it. We weren’t a part of it.

I walked to the front of the store, and Kyle was making his purchases. It was taking quite a while, so I stood near the front door of the store, Delaney draped across me, perfectly content sleeping in the midst of chaos.

And then Seal’s “Love’s Divine” came one. Now, I’m not normally a huge Seal fan, but something about that song cut me to the core in that moment. And I began to cry.

And I didn’t even care.

Because all of a sudden I felt like the Universe was shining its spotlight right on us, in the middle of Banana Republic. It was like the whole world was scurrying rapidly around us, but we were in this protected little circle in slow motion. It’s very hard to explain, hard to find words for it.

But it hit me hard that in that moment, I had all I needed. And so did she.

All she needed was me. I was enough to calm her, relax her, make her safe and comforted enough to just lay across my body in the middle of craziness. It was all that mattered.

So I sat there in Banana Republic with tears rolling down my face, staring at my little miracle, listening to Seal, so filled up with love and gratitude for the moment. I couldn’t believe that people going past didn’t become part of my moment somehow, but they were busy with their lives, and I don’t think anyone noticed. Kyle didn’t even see it happening.

I wish there were more words to describe it.

I know Delaney’s purpose in life isn’t to help me learn my life’s lessons. I know her path is her own, and it will be a joy watching it unfold for her in her lifetime.

But in 10 months of life, her presence has been the catalyst for my biggest lessons. And hers is only to be who she needs to be every second of the day. I’m so blessed to be able to provide her with that opportunity.

This is the part that makes my heart break over and over again and probably why I feel inspired to write so much more since her birth: I want to capture it all somehow. This particular moment was so sweet, it makes my body buzz. Pure joy, pure truth, pure love. I want to be able to step back into my skin in that moment and re-experience it whenever I want (need) to.

I know another moment will replace it as the newest wonder someday soon. For now, this sticks pretty strong in my heart. But I don’t want to lose this one when another one happens. It’s almost like I’m betraying that moment in time by allowing a new moment to steal the spotlight.

Last week, I was looking at this awesome frame we have with a picture of Delaney at around 4 months old. I remember the picture, taking it, thinking it was the cutest one ever. I said aloud to Kyle,”I guess we should put a new picture in here.” And then I started crying. He asked me what was wrong, and I said,”I feel like we’re replacing Delaney at that age with a newer model.”

And it just made me so sad. It’s like admitting that that period of time is over. Which it is, of course.

But it’s just hard. I want to keep it all. I want to be able to step into the moment four, six, nine months ago and be there when I want to. Just for a moment.

And I guess when I realize that time ticks by, it makes those moments in the moment all the sweeter and all the more important.

I’ll never forget that moment, and I know Banana Republic will always have a wholly different meaning for me than it used to.

I wish for everyone in the world to have their own moment in some ridiculous place that has no business being divine. I guess that’s what it’s about: finding the divine in the mundane, the unexpected, the chaotic. In life. In our regular lives.

Practical magic, I suppose. What a wonderful gift.

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