I have this fear that I won't really remember (at least not vividly) some of the moments I have had with Lola these past 18-19 months.
What is my favorite moment? Too hard.
So here are just a few of the zillions (in no particular order):
-- The very, very early days with Lola, when her tummy was so gassy and painful that she would just wail endlessly. To the point where Ray and I were terrified and quite overwhelmed. And then Ray stretches out that giant ape arm of his, lies Lola tummy side down on the underside of his arm, places a side of her face in the palm of his hand and starts patting her on the rump. And she instantly stopped. I mean, completely stopped. Just let out a little sigh of relief and relaxed her legs, letting them dangle from either side of his arm like vines falling from a jungle tree.
Of course, Ray's arm would inevitably fall asleep and I would try to duplicate the maneuver, but my stubbly arms were too little and Lola would cry for her daddy.
He had the magic touch; still does, really.
-- A few months ago, before Christmas, when Lola was in a not great mood and wanted to be held. Which was hard because Ray and I were making fudge and chocolate chip cookies. So I picked her up and decided to show her exactly what we were doing. And she was captivated. She would point at each ingredient, asking, "Dat?" And I would define each ingredient and show her how to dump it into the pot or bowl. Of course, Lola's main focus by the end was on the chocolate chips, which she (of course) got to sample.
-- Last night. We were all having Lola's favorite meal, "stickies," (translation: French toast, or more accurately, anything that comes with syrup). Lola looked at me with those big blue eyes, watching me as I poured myself something to drink, and said, "Milk peas."
I nearly fell over and glanced at Ray, who looked just as confused. "You want some milk, Honey?" I asked, trying to not sound scared or too cautious.
So, I poured her some milk - straight from the fridge! - and gave her a sippy cup and Lola drank 5-6 huge gulps and smiled.
(A little note: It's not like we don't give her milk - we do. It's just that she has never liked it at all. Too cold, too milky. I don't know. But she will take a the tiniest of all sips and handed the cup back to me.)
Last night, though, she carried that darn sippy cup throughout the whole house until I finally took it away in fear it was getting old. She drank quite a bit.
-- The first time she gave me a real hug. Must have been before Christmas, I think. And I was carrying her to bed. And she was tired, but really wanted to stay up. She sees her crib and whimpers a bit. Then, she lays her head on my shoulder and smiles at me.
And I melted.
And, had Ray not been home, she probably would have gotten to stay up for a while longer.
I'm a pushover.
-- The last one is not so much a favorite memory as an overall observation: Lola loves her family. Her family.
Every day when I (or Ray) pick her up from day care, she comes flying down the hallway and practically jumps over the gate to reach me. But, as soon as she gets in the car, all I hear is, "Daddy? Daddy?" Or if Ray picks her up, it's, "Mama? Mama?"
She's not happy unless all three of us are together. Oh, she will play and eat dinner and be pleasant enough, but you won't get any of those wide-open Lola smiles that make her eyes flash waves of sunshine at you - not until she hears that other vehicle pull up.
Last night, I beat Ray home by about 45 minutes. We got home and Lola was OK; she helped me with laundry and cleaning. But every 6-7 minutes I would get a sad little puppy look, "Daddy?"
So Ray comes home, Lola runs to the front door (literally ... as in runs into the door) and runs around the house shrieking with delight for the next 15 minutes. She gave Ray hugs, gave me hugs and then waited for all of us to sit on the floor and play together. She brought us baby dolls and blocks. She sat in our laps as we read books. She smiled and gave us kisses as we all played catch.
These are some of the moments I want to remember. The ones too special to risk with a camera.
- Bethany :)