Sunday, December 30, 2012

"Mommy, I think it was the best day I've ever had."

I almost want to cry remembering her say those words, with her sweet little face looking up at me from her bed as I kissed her goodnight.

The story is probably going to sound mildly shallow, but only to those who don't know my oldest child and our family.  You see, Ainsley just got to go to her first American Girl store and for her it was better than Disney World (and yes, she's been there).

She loves her dolls.  (This I don't get because I never played with dolls). She earned her dolls.  And I'm not intending to sound prideful when I say she paid for half of her first one and all of her second.  The fact of the matter was that she wanted them when there weren't any birthdays or Christmases on the horizon and that's how it had to play out.  But the important part is that they are dear to her and she has devoured nearly every book (at least twice).  So when a store opened up in our part of the universe several months back, I knew she would love to go.  Our world is a little crazy-busy, so an opportunity didn't present itself until a couple days ago when John was off work and could hang out with the rest of the wee ones.

So she planned and planned and changed their outfits a few times and smiled and smiled and could hardly contain herself all morning.  It was almost like she was nervous.  The trip to the store was part of a Christmas gift from my mom, so we picked up Mimi on our way. 

I don't believe the child stopped smiling the nearly two (!) hours we were there, and we did it all: the hair salon, the cafe, the browsing, and the picking out of an outfit thanks to a gift-card from a very sweet school friend.  Ainsley is well known for her indecisiveness, so my mom and I were well-prepared for the stay.

What I wasn't prepared for was how I would feel about it.  We all love our children and naturally want them to be happy, so when we see them (or at least when I see mine) over-the-top thrilled I get a little teary, especially when it is for something so simple.  And I know it sounds silly to say because we were at a store, for crying-out-loud, but it is Ainsley and she isn't a demanding child, and hardly spoiled, and it was a very, very special trip for her.  I wish I had more pictures, but she was so serious and so focused on every little detail of the store that I could barely get her attention.  She would occasionally stop in her wanderings and whisper in my ear "Mommy, there is just so much here.", or "Mommy, I just can't believe it".  And I would smile and want to pick her up and snuggle the daylights out of her.

And while we were sitting in the cafe having our dessert (thank you so very much for the treat, Mom!), it was hard to keep my mind from wandering to someone who would have loved to be there as much as my little girl.  John's mom also loved dolls and loved Ainsley and would have equally loved to be there with us. But she can't because she is no longer with us and it was hard.  Very hard.  She is missed every day, but especially on days like this one when she would have been just as in awe of the store as her granddaughter and just as excited to be there.  She had wanted so badly to take Ainsley to Chicago someday to visit The Store, but life and sickness changed everyone's plans and dreams and so there we were, with one less in our party than there ought to have been.  Oh, how I wish it was different.

But everything else about the outing was perfectly perfect, from the girl who thought the Hermoine costume on Ainsley's doll was "so cool!" (cue lots of smiling from my baby), to the server who (of course) knew we had "McKenna" sitting at the table with us, to the hairdresser who spent loads of time teaching Ainsley how to care for her doll's hair.  It was lovely.

So thank you, Mimi, for so generously treating us at the Cafe' and some "hair accessories".  Thank you, Nancy, for passing on a love for dolls and understanding more than I ever will how much little girls love them.  And thank you, Ainsley, for sharing and demonstrating child-like wonderment to this tired momma.  I forget what that's like sometimes.  Well, a lot of times.  Thank you for reminding me to stop rushing around so much and just stand and stare in awe and smile at what I have been so generously been given.   I love you, sweet girl.


Fooz said...

That is a smile from the heart! So awesome and although I did not know Nancy as well, I too miss her greatly.

BKicklighter said...

You made me cry.