There’s been a shift again. Emotion is nothing if not seismic in this family, but this has been a nice, gradual drifting of continents.
Rory likes to perform, but sometimes I have felt that she was putting on a father frantic show for us–a show of happiness, a show of belonging, as if her performing it would convince us all. Sometimes she’d be just sitting there, kind of expressionless, and I’d look at her, and I’d get this frantic grin—not a grin of happiness, more one of desperation.
That”s ebbing away. Today she went upstairs on her own for a while, sat with Daddy in the office, and then went off to poke around, and appeared a few minutes later in a black velvet leotard of Lily’s (a handy down from another friend, actually). She checked to see that I was in the kitchen, then disappeared for a moment, then leaped in. Trick or Treat! Then she did a most elegant little dance (she hasn’t learned to expect candy from those Trick or Treats yet). And then did it again. And again. With plenty of “you got WATCH me, Mommy!” and lots more dancing.
I know that at some point, very early on, I was just begging–when will she act like a normal kid? And then she started to ACT like a normal kid, and that certainly didn’t feel right, either. Today–not all day, but at least for some–she just WAS a normal kid, and that felt great.
As for me, I was rounding them up for bed tonight, and no one was making that key first move towards the stairs (once you get one to go, they all do, and it doesn’t matter which one). It was unusually late, and Rory was resisting passively–rolling into the sofa as if to sleep there, popping in a thumb, eying me, and a little bubble of anger arose–I DO hate being defied, and it doesn’t matter by whom–and then I shrugged and held out my arms. I’ll carry you up, I said, and you will be the very first, and off we happily want.