I taught the kids some of the words to "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard" recently. It was one of those things where I couldn't get it out of my head. I don't know why - I hadn't heard it recently. But there it was, in my head, so I sang it. I got maybe half the words right. The kids were intrigued. Mama Pajama? Did what? So of course I dug it up on iTunes, since I couldn't rely on my memory to get the words right, and played it for them a few times. Ever since then, Finn likes to call me "Mommy P-Jommy." "Mommy P-Jommy, you are the BEST mommy." He also likes to tell me that he loves me more than anyone. More than I love him. The most, ever. He's all elbows and knees and NOT cuddly, until he suddenly is, squeezed up against my side and kissing my cheek.
Lucy's love for me is not worshipful like her brother's. It's demanding. She is confident in her love for me, in my love for her. And so she demands, constantly, in booming, regal tones. Get me this! I want that! I CAN'T take my shoes off, YOU do it! She tests, and pushes, and aggravates, as three-year-olds should. She can drive us crazy, and turn around a second later and captivate us with a joke (her jokes are not funny, making them endearingly so), or a hug (she gives the absolute best hugs ever), or a sly sideways glance. She calls a wedgie a "woodgie," and it kills me, making me ignore that I'm about to strangle her because of her refusal to get dressed. She grabs my face and leans in uncomfortably close during a cuddle. She is open and unreserved and full of demanding love.
I learned late last week that a work colleague of mine had passed away. She was sick - we knew she was sick. But we also understood her to be recovering, to be doing much better. We thought she was coming back soon. I didn't think that I wouldn't see her again.
She was one of the warmest, friendliest, most unflappable people I have ever met. She always, always had a kind word for me, and for everyone else. She had a difficult job, and often had to work with strong personalities. Yet she had this calm peace about her all the time. In situations where I would have lost my temper, she didn't bat an eye.
You don't always know when it will be the last time you see someone.
I'm not trying to trot out sentiments like "live in the moment," or "appreciate what you have" here. Though we should, when we can, which is not the same as always. Instead, I think what I could do better here, and what my co-worker did so well, is to create more positive interactions. With my kids. With my work colleagues. With M. With the checker at the grocery store. Just leave a trail of positivity behind me, in front of me. Don't focus so much on the negative side, the hard parts, the things that don't work out.
Do more to earn the worshipful, demanding love Finn and Lucy have for me.
And, yeah, of course, savor those hugs. But I already do that ;-).