Somehow, all my photos thus far on this round of the 7 days project have Ani in them. Could have something to do with the fact that she's been a clingy monkey as of late. Yesterday, she lay her cheek against my chest, struggling my collar out of the way so she could be skin to skin. Suddenly she popped up and said, "Mama! Your boobies are so hot!" as though she was trying to pick up on me in a bar. My skin was warm, yes, but I swear she was just digging for my digits. Little weirdo.
Her language skills have grown so wildly over the last couple of months, we're getting a huge kick out of all she has to say about the world. And the conversations between she and Lily slay me, sending Mark and I into fits of giggles. So much expression. Their gaze of the world is so wildly unexpected and so often funny.
Then there is Lily, who is simultaneously a sassy teen and a scared child. This morning Lily was curled up in bed with me and Mark when the monitor gave a soft whoosh of feedback. "What's that?" she asked. Lately she asks questions no matter if she knows the answer or not, so I've taken to answering her with something ridiculous. This time I went with, "A frog." And in her best teenage parroting she responded with, "Or maybe the monitor" with a "DUH" vibrating beneath her sentence. Go on with your bad self, you sassy girl.
Just yesterday though, while attending a birthday party, she asked me to come with her to the bathroom. "You know where it is, you can go by yourself."
"NO. I can't."
"Because I just saw a monster go in there."
"Yeah? Well let's go see if he's done."
I love the softness and directness of her fears. She saw a monster go in there. Why would I bother to question such a thing?
There was a time where I would have, though. A time where I would have tried to convince her that there are no monsters. But parenting has taught me better. Now I know that monsters exist all over the place and just because I cannot see them doesn't mean they are not there. I awoke at around 2:30am the other day, sitting bolt upright in bed and shaking Mark awake. "A bang! I heard a loud noise!" Mark jumped up and ran, checking first on the girls, then working his way to the front of the house, switching on lights and inspecting everything while my heart pounded and I tried to separate dream from reality. He came back to report all was well and after a good half hour wrapped up in his arms, still shaking and confused from the fright, I finally made my own way back to sleep. I convinced myself it was a dream.
The next day, while relating this story to my sister at the above mentioned party, she smiled and said, "I was awake then too. We had an earthquake. Just a quick one, but it was there." Another woman at the table chimed in that she had found herself unexpectedly awake then as well. Suddenly the whole party was validating my monster. The monster I had convinced myself did not exist. The monster that had shaken me to the core and sent me into panicked, ragged breaths.
Luckily for me, I see the smile on Anya's face or listen to Lily tell me about the world and all my personal monsters get pushed to the side, even if only for a moment. What or who pushes aside your monsters?