As I alluded to yesterday, last Wednesday was a day for the memory books. By the end of the day, we were exhausted, tired, sore…and spent! It was one of those days when you go to sleep at the end of the day and wonder: Did we really just do all of that today?!!
The first order of business happened early – Paprika had school! They had their big Easter Egg hunt at school – and all the kindergarten kids went on a hunt with their 5th grade buddies. There are about 75 kindergarteners and about 75 fifth graders – so that meant 150 kids all running around the playground in search of eggs. They each got to pick out seven eggs and put them in their baskets. Paprika was so excited about her little treasures.
Mr. M went to school with Paprika – we are the classroom photographers, so he took all the photos of the Egg Hunt (hundreds of photos!) Afterwards, they went to the computer lab, and he helped out there a bit. I stayed home and got the little girls ready, and when they were all dressed and fed and the car was packed, I texted Mr. M and he busted Paprika out of school early.
Why? Because we decided to go visit Devon and her family – her girls were on Spring Break last week – so it was a rare treat to get everyone together. Devon’s husband works at a school that was also on Spring Break – so he was off work last week! Mr. M was off work because Wednesday is his day off work on DWTS. So, all the stars basically aligned for a little trip to see dear friends.
The weather was perfect – gorgeous – 70 and sunny, not a cloud in the sky. The girls all played together like not a day had passed since they’d last seen each other. They ran and played for about six hours! We never heard a peep – they had the best time playing dress-up and pretend.
After a few hours, the guys went and got Baja Fresh for lunch and brought it back to the house. We sat outside on the back patio and watched the girls play. It was so nice, it felt like a dream.
Even Baby Violet was right there in the mix – usually she clings to me and wants to be held – but not in this crowd! I barely saw her!!!
You would have thought the girls would have been hungry or gotten worn out – but nope! I don’t think Paprika ate anything, drank anything, or went to the bathroom the whole day! She was so happy, she just couldn’t stop for a moment.
I always think of Ginger as being so petite and tiny for her age (3 1/2) – but when I look at these pictures, she looks so tall! She is such a little girl now – she was helping Violet learn how to drive the little car.
We sat and visited and talked and watched the girls play for hours.
It seems like such a dream to me because when I met Devon, we had both just experienced the deaths of our twins – and we each had one toddler at home. It’s amazing to see how five years has transformed our lives – and the little scene I saw playing out in front of us is one we wished and prayed for during those dark times.
It was a dream come true. Truly.
So, around 6:30, we left Devon’s house because her kids go to bed at a decent hour – and mine do not. Ha! We didn’t want to get stuck in rush hour traffic on the ride home, so we stopped off at my old favorite park to spend a few more hours.
It was Violet’s first time at the park. She took to it pretty well. 😉
I have so many memories of Paprika at this park. Everywhere I looked, I had deja vu. I remember so well all the times Paprika played on these horses. And even when she was too little to climb on the horses, so she would just stand in the middle and jump!
When I was watching her, I felt like I was in two places at once. I was here, in the now, watching her. And I was also five years earlier – before everything else happened – when it was just her and me every day. When I was learning how to be a mom, and she was guiding me.
In that moment, I realized I have no regrets for every single second I spent with her at the park. At our house. All of the hard times when she wouldn’t listen to me. When she’d run away for throw a temper tantrum. Or steal another toddler’s bike and insist on riding it.
I was there. We were there together. It’s something sacred that no one can ever take away from me. That time. The hard times. The good times. They are all sacred.
I used to bring Ginger to the park when she was a baby. We moved to the beach when Ginger was 8 months old, so by the time we left, she couldn’t walk yet. So, it’s not quite the same as it is with Paprika – I saw Paprika learn to walk on these stairs.
But even so, when I see Ginger here – it’s a little bit of a miracle to me. How I wished and prayed for her – and here she is. She is a divine gift from God, and I don’t know how I ever got so lucky.
Love her so. I can’t even talk about it without getting teary.
Ginger took to the park like I knew she would. Even after a full day of running and playing at Devon’s house, she covered every inch of the park and played hard. At this point, it was getting close to 8, and even I was getting tired. But Ginger’s a little unstoppable! Ha!
Paprika and I took a little walk because she wanted to see the Rose Garden. She remembers everything – even from when she was a baby.
We made it over to the Rose Garden and we were the only ones there!
Paprika had to smell the roses (of course!)
Can you tell she was excited?!
Then she found a snail friend and had to say hello:
Hi, Snail Friend!
I remember once when I was very pregnant with Ginger, Paprika was about 2 1/2. She ran SO FAST across this field because she did NOT want to go home. But, for whatever reason, we had to go home. It was about 100 degrees, and did I mention I was very pregnant? Paprika weighed about 35 pounds (like a small television), and I had to carry her over my shoulder, kicking and screaming…all the way back to the car. Whenever I see this field, I think about that day. And I am so glad today is not that day! Haha. 😉
Of course, we had to go see The Tin Man. Here is the post I wrote about him long ago. We used to sit with him every day, and Paprika would talk to him.
March 27, 2008:
I had this plan that I would bring Baby Violet over to him and we would see if she would sit with him the way Paprika did all those years ago. But when I brought Violet over to him, she looked at me like I was crazy, started screaming, and ran back to the playground. Ha!
But, later, Paprika wandered over to him to say hi, and this is what happened:
She didn’t sit and talk with him for hours like she used to when she was a baby. She just hopped over to say hi, and then back to play with her sisters. Which is good. I mean, really good. I’ll take real siblings over the Tin Man any day of the week. 😉
But in the back of my mind, I started humming Puff The Magic Dragon (which is just the saddest song, don’t get me started). These girls are growing up, and the one thing I can say I’m so glad about is that I am here.
I will never regret a moment of any of this – even the hardest days when I think I just might lose my sanity. 😉
It’s all beautiful. It’s all sacred. And I’m just glad I get to be here to witness it. Amen.