Okay, so tonight was a difficult night. Actually, difficult isn't quite the word. I was ready to dump holy water on my kid's head and call in an old priest and a young priest. So, thank the Good Lord above that Nurse Kerry is her nurse tonight, and that she gets as much of a kick out of Sarah as she does, because she saw that I desperately needed a break and she all but kicked me out of the room and told me to take my time. I am ever so grateful, it was exactly what I needed. I am still contemplating the bean and cheese burritos that I saw in the vending machine downstairs. For those of us who live here, bean and cheese burritos are a rarity, hardly ever to be found in the vending machine; instead, there is usually empty holes where bean and cheese burritos used to be, and adjacent to that, some disgusting burrito combination that no one in their right mind would eat, like potato and green chili. But I digress...
As I was downstairs unwinding and contemplating purchasing the overpriced burrito I wasn't really hungry for at the moment but would deeply regret not purchasing later when I am starving and gazing longingly at the empty hole, I was checking my facebook, and I happened to see on the Huffington Post and article about Bucket Lists for your kids, a list of things you want to do or accomplish with your children before they get too old/too cool/too snarky to enjoy it. Having raised three stepchildren, I say this age is somewhere between 10 and 13, when you can't go anywhere without at least one kid wearing a perpetual face of having smelled old gym socks, and you wanting to smack it right off because while they are less than impressed with their environment, you probably put a lot of thought into the outing. Sarah just turned four. And while her circumstances prevent us from doing a lot of things that other four year olds can do, there is still a lot we can do together, a lot of traditions and fond memories from my own childhood that I would like to pass on. I thought it was a wonderful idea, and I thought tonight would be a perfect night to at least get started, if only to remind myself of why I adore this child as much as I do.
So, here goes, in lieu of my New Year's Resolutions, and in keeping with the one philosophy I did adopt at the beginning of this year, which was to live each day to the fullest and be present in the moment, I am at least going to attempt this list, adding to it as I think of new awesome things I want to do with my kid before she gets too cool for school.
1. Go to Disney World
This is something Sarah has recently said she wants to do, and so I figured it should get top billing.
2. Go back to the zoo.
Sarah's first (and last) trip to the zoo was when she was 18 months old. She remembers enough to know that she went, and to know that it was cool, but I don't know how much she really got out of it, and I'm pretty sure she was too young to learn much, so as smart as she is, I think it would be SO COOL to get her take on things now. Plus, since her favorite color is pink, she has a current obsession with flamingos, so I also think it would be cool if she could see one up close.
3. Take Sarah to an art museum.
Amazingly enough, this is also something she asked to do, and despite the obvious educational aspect that would appeal to any mom/teacher, I happen to love art, and this is something I would love to share with her.
4. Put Sarah back in ballet.
We signed Sarah up for Mommy and Me ballet classes when she was 20 months old, two weeks before she got diagnosed with ALL two years ago. She was so upset that she had to quit, and has been anxious to get back ever since. She is even practicing her "dance moves", connected to her IV pole and all...as soon as it's safe, I am signing this kid back up ASAP. She may never be a prima ballerina, but she will be the cutest and sassiest ballerina you've ever seen in your life, I guarantee it.
5. Take Sarah to eat shrimp at the Grand Central Market.
Perhaps this should say, "get Sarah to eat shrimp", but this is something that my dad did with my brother and me, and I never forgot it. The sights, the smells, the noise, sensory overload for a budding young writer.
6. Find a seriously awesome park, and have a picnic under a tree.
7. Visit all the "old haunts" my parents took us to as kids.
I think we are pretty fortunate to live near a city with so much rich culture and heritage. Olvera street, The Griffith Park Observatory, the Natural History Museum, the Children's Museum, the Discovery Science Center, these were places we frequented in my childhood, and I never felt "dragged". Both my parents, my dad especially, had a way of turning a simple trip into an adventure, and this quality, regardless of the destination, I want to recreate with my daughter.
8. Take a large trip with Sarah.
It has always been a dream of mine to go to Hawaii, and I have never quite made it, I am the only one in my family who has never been. I have barely even been out of the state. My dream is to take Sarah to Hawaii, but I think she'll be happy anywhere there's a Disney park! :)
9. Introduce Sarah to all the great movies of my childhood/adolescence/adulthood
This was something I did with my stepkids because (gasp!) they had never seen such classics as the Goonies, Gremlins, or even The Muppets Take Manhattan. Naturally, I had to remedy such a tragedy immediately, and I am proud to say that they are now well-versed in all of the classic 80's movies of my childhood. I look forward to recreating this with Sarah.
10. Have a campout in the back yard
This is something that we used to do often when we were kids, and something that Sarah has never been able to do for obvious reasons. Hopefully, when all of this is over, she will be able to know the feeling of sleeping out under the stars, with the promise of pink pancakes in the morning. After a backyard campout, my mom would always make me pink pancakes and eggs, and my brother got green ones. It is a wonder that I survived on such a noxious diet of Red Dye #7, but that was also one of the pleasures of our day, no one shoving organic crap down our throats. Our organic foods were raspberries picked straight off the bush, apples and plums eaten right off the tree, having only rubbed it on your shirt for a few seconds, still warm from the sun. Times are different now, and so are the kids, but I want my daughter to know as many of these simple pleasures as possible.
I am sure that I will think of more as time wears on and Sarah gets older and closer to the light at the end of the tunnel when any of this will even be a possibility, but it is a good solid list for now. The point is building wonderful positive memories, which I try to do every day. I love my daughter tenderly and I love her fiercely, in everything that I do. This is what I want her to know, these are the things that I want her to remember. The way I cook her eggs in the morning, the way i know her, the way I tell her every five minutes that I love her. The way I let her get away with things when it is safe to do so, an extra five minutes before bed, an extra cookie after dinner when I said only one. Because the point is, the sweetest memory your children will have of you, is your presence, the mark you make on their lives. I intend to leave a big one.