By Diane Ako
South Carolina’s greatest gift to me was the reminder of how precious time is, and how I should be savoring it every day with my child.
Our daily bedtime ritual includes summing up our day’s most and least favorite moments. In a cuddly bed in Charleston, she told me her best thing was that I played with her today. Her junkest thing was “No Kira.”
Kira is her best friend, the neighbor for whom she pines away for, the little girl who plays nicely with her for hours and hours on a lazy Saturday or Sunday. She wants every day to be Kira Day.
We got a lot of family time on this trip. Ten days of togetherness, carried into the bedroom. If it’s a queen bed, Olivia sleeps with me, because she won’t sleep alone in new places. If it’s a king bed, we all get to pile in.
I play with her every day. We play word games, chasing games, finding games, and when Mommy is tired, cell phone app games. Her daddy or I hold her hand and point out things to her a lot.
I love that I’m still everything to her. I love that her daily highlight is my attention. I love that her treasures from this trip are clam shells we collected from a beach at Hilton Head, and a shiny rock from Atlanta. I love that a chocolate milk can make all the difference between a good meal and just a so-so one.
This is such a sweet and precious age. I tend to forget, to get wrapped up in the daily druge of life and the grinding responsibility it brings with it, which for my situation is generally a breathless rotation between domestic chores, parenting obligations, and a full time career.
Here in South Carolina, I remember. I remember in a raw and deep way what I love so much about mommyhood, a truth that arrives at me with such a force I tear up just a little bit and hold my now-sleeping daughter tightly to me. I nuzzle her soft hair with my face and resolve to remember more.