For those who have read Spirit-Led Parenting, can you even believe that my baby Dacey is nine and a half? A long-legged fourth grader learning more each day how to live into the person she was created to be? How that brown-eyed baby in the pages of our book can possibly be this old is just beyond me.
When I read back passages of the book to myself, I think about how it is all so clear now. All of the struggles we went through, she and I, when she was an infant, all of the ways she resisted self-soothing to sleep and how she wanted to be held all the time, all of her "high-needs baby" traits - I read it all now and it's so very obvious that she just wanted more of Mama.
She still wants more Mama, honestly. I could spend all day, every day with her and at bedtime, she would still ask "maybe we can spend more time together tomorrow?" I've written before many times that our bond has been intense from the start, and yet, it's still surprising to me how closely connected we are.
It's not so with the twins or even with AJ. My bond with them is somehow more gentle and grounded (if that makes any sense at all). The twins are needy in the way toddlers so often are, but they also find tremendous comfort in the presence of each other. AJ needs me because her extroversion knows no end; if no friends are around, then she'll make do with me. At almost seven, AJ seems to be more interested in pushing back from me, seemingly more intentional in showing me how different she is from me. And I kind of love that in the way that my type is always about championing the individual.
But Dacey, she's always pulling me in. Even when we get sideways with each other, she's always reaching out for me.
And so that's how I found myself on the couch with her over the weekend, shoring myself up to sit through a thirty minute episode of a Pokemon cartoon with her.
Dacey has never, ever been into Princesses or Barbie. We had a brief Lalaloopsy phase, but her interests have always been unique. She is a long-time Minecrafter, and last January, we had an amazing (if I do say so myself) Minecraft-themed birthday party for her. Just after that, though, she fell into a Pokemon phase that is still going strong.
I was shocked to discover Pokemon was even still a thing, let alone a Big Thing. But it is, and she digs it. So hard.
So all summer long, I listened to Pokemon facts and looked at Pokemon books and commissioned Pokemon drawings. It is, for me, a little easier than Minecraft in that at least there is a story there, you know? It's a complex story, but I can work with story far more easily than I can work with Creepers and smelting.
But still. I do not enjoy the Pokemon.
But I enjoy the heck ouf of my Dacey girl. And so when I found her settling in to watch an episode, I crawled under the quilt next to her, smiled, and asked, "Can I watch, too?" Her eyebrows shot up and face exploded in a smile with her yes!
And even though I nearly went crazy-eyed enduring the pitch of the voice actors and I had to ask a million questions to follow the plot points, when the show was over, the big squeeze and "thanks for keeping me company, Mom" were so worth it.
Kyle dove into Minecraft to learn a common language with our girls, and so I've taken up the task of figuring out who Ash and Brock are and who is from what region and what happens in a Pokemon battle.
We all do this in so many ways, right? Navigate Lego kits and spend hours at the soccer field and chime in on American Girl doll stories and the hundreds and hundreds of ways we show our kids, "Hey, I see you. And I love you. And if you are into it, so am I." We all want to be seen. We all want someone to meet us in our greatest joys. And I want my kids to know at home, they will always been seen and they will always be known.
And if that means anime and card collecting, well then (gulp), count me in.