During Spring Break I took my oldest on a breakfast date. It was a complete surprise to her, and let me just tell you it was almost impossible for me to keep the secret. I had recently discovered a place in town that made Gluten Free pancakes on request, and just knew I needed to take my little gluten free girl for some. She had been having a hard time adjusting lately to gluten free living and so I thought this would cheer her up. But also, she needed some one on one mama time desperately. It's been a long time since it was just the two of us, and I knew it would do us both some good.
Since Mackenzie had school during spring break, I woke up as I usually would if I had to go to work. The morning before Caitlin and I had stopped at Starbucks after dropping Mac at school, before I had to rush off to work. From the time Caitlin woke up, all she wanted to do was go to Starbucks. She must have asked me a million times, and every time I kept replying with "we'll see". It got to the point where I was getting a little irritated, but I didn't want to ruin the surprise. So we took Mac and on the way to the car, she asked again.
Let's go to breakfast, was my answer.
She now had a million and one more questions. What would she eat? What would I eat? Not many places have breakfast food for gluten free people like us, but when I told her I knew of a place where they made gluten free pancakes, her face lit up! Where mom? Do you know how to get there? How long will it take? Can we listen to Taylor Swift? Yes, yes, and absolutely.
I brought a book from home and we read a few chapters while we waited. She colored her kids menu and read me some of the trivia. We checked the Fresno Grizzlies baseball schedule and talked about Disneyland. She asked me if we could ride It's a Small World first, and Dumbo second. We ordered her a gluten free pancake with strawberries, whipped cream, and chocolate sauce. I said yes to a Dr. Pepper. I said yes to just about everything.
It wasn't until after breakfast that I realized we had found a sweet spot, her and I. She will be eight in June, and I would have never ventured out alone with her when she was an infant or a toddler. I spent her first two years paralyzed with fear, stressing about how many changes of clothes to pack in her diaper bag, how many bottles I would need before we were due home. I would become so overwhelmed with the details, and would cancel trips to play dates and birthday parties last minute, because I was so afraid. As we used the restroom before we left, it struck me that there were no tears on this beautiful morning. She wore her pajamas and flip flops, made up of a leopard print sweater with Aztec print leggings. I didn't re-braid her hair. I didn't even have her wash her face. I realized that these dates, these moments with her are the ones I used to dream about, when she was finally asleep on my chest. The moments that I would day dream about as I drove her across town with her screaming and crying the entire way. This breakfast date was once just a dream I had. Because there was a time when I felt we would never get here. That my journey through motherhood would never have a destination as sublime as this.
We left breakfast that morning smiling and singing along with Taylor. When we stopped for gas she wanted to help and for the first time I said yes. And while the gas pumped I realized that she had outgrown her booster seat. It was time to take off the back, which was just another milestone that we had arrived at on this beautiful morning.
For the first time, since becoming a mother almost eight Junes ago, I felt that ease. I felt that glow. I felt that magical thing all the other moms always talked about. Finally since becoming a mother, all felt right in my tiny Caitlin centric universe. Finally. Thankfully. Amazingly.
Oh, my sweet girl. We've come a long way, baby.