I couldn’t wait for my daughter to talk because I totally sucked at trying figure out what she needed before then. You’re hungry? No? Too warm? No? Feeling sick? My earth motherly instincts totally went into hiding. Once Madeleine did talk, she also developed a very concrete sense of what she wanted and most of that happened to be my attention. I could be holding her in my arms, talking to somebody and she would take my head in her hands, wrenching it around to look at her again and again and again. I’ve been trying to teach her how to hold her hand up when she wants to say something, but this still needs a little work.
I hadn’t realized how problematic it was until I was celebrating my wedding anniversary with my husband, Christophe, this weekend. After months without a date night, we had planned a wonderful day which included massages and the final performance of “Tartuffe” at the Huntington Theater. However, the best part of our day happened over Korean Fried Chicken (I’ve only experienced good things over Korean Fried Chicken). After we had finished talking about Madeleine and the holidays, we began to talk about the overall busyness of our lives. We talked about all the change that had occurred during our time together, especially over this past year, and how much change we have yet to do as Madeleine grows and our bodies age. It’s a conversation often cut short when we’re with Madeleine due to her natural need for our attention. It’s a conversation that doesn’t get to evolve since our opposing work schedules don’t allow us to address more than the bare essentials.
Sometimes it feels like that movie, “Top Gun,” in our household: two jets working together at high speeds to get done what needs to get done. We’ve needed to be nimble as the migs keep coming in fast and our communicators have been on the fritz. But, even Maverick and Goose managed to get their jets back on the ground, eventually, tying on a drink at the local bar (of course, this is earlier in the movie). What we finally had the chance to do over our beers soy glazed chicken was finish our sentences; complete a thought. We were able to acknowledge each other for the things we’ve done right which is different from grunting in approval as we fly by one another. And we had the chance to take constructive stabs at how we could tweak things so that we could steady ourselves and find more time on the ground. If we hadn’t had the performance to go to, I think we would’ve sat there talking for a lot longer. But, the gift of conversation had been opened and I managed to emerge from that conversation more Charlie than Goose. We managed to bring back that lovin’ feeling.