Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Dinner date

I'm all too aware that my alone time with my eldest is the scarcest, now that she's venturing off into her own life. I suppose that's how it goes: first after school activities and play dates, then soccer practice or whatever and SAT prep and then she leaves for college and I get it, the years are short, and she's growing into a person-not-just-my-kid.

It was almost-summer weather today for the first of February, and I met her at the end of her school day in flip-flops and loose pants, as instructed, for the final class of this session of yoga. I rolled a blue mat out next to her purple one. Other relatives of the little yoginis joined the circle. The instructor led us through an hour of breathing and stretching and visualization and rest. It was fulfilling and when it ended I looked at E and the clock on my phone and the sun outside and suggested ice cream.

Noodles, she countered, and we had a meal together, just the two of us. We never spend time now, just the two of us. She asked for a water cup and after we chose our table she went to the pop machine on her own.

Did you catch that?

She went on her own. She didn't even ask, or glance my way, this girl of mine who has spent parts of her life so nervous of a stranger's look that she wouldn't let go of my hand for hours at a time. And also: when did that girl become tall enough to push the little tab for water?

And there it was: she's a girl who crosses a restaurant unafraid and reaches for what she wants. That's a tiny thing. That's a natural thing.

It's everything. Oh, my heart.

And we collected her siblings and waited for her father to get home from a late-day meeting and on the verge of bedtime, L asked her hero: what did you do with Mama in yoga? And there in the hallway my little yogini / my very big girl conducted an impromptu yoga class. She told us to breathe in through our noses and counted to three and released our breaths and urged us to stretch to our toes. We saluted the sun, right there in the hall, and we lined up our bodies to draw thunder and lightning and raindrops and pull fluffy clouds on each others' backs. We breathed a balloon breath and the compass and some very good lion breaths, and she guided us through a perfect-for-bed savasana.

image via Abby Bunnell

My daughter / her sister / our teacher. 'Where did this wonder come from?' half of my inner voice thinks, just as its counterpart whispers 'she was there all along.'

The next session of kindergarten yoga begins in two weeks.
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