Charlotte and I went on a five mile hike together and the kid Would.Not.Stop.Talking. As soon as we merged from the main highway trail onto the single shady track, it began.
Initially, she gave me the very intricate play by play regarding a show she had been watching about dinosaurs. Immediately, I asked her if she had seen Jurassic Park. “No Mama. This is like a cartoon version.” I have failed as a parent if you have yet to be scared out of your ten year old mind by Velociraptors. (remind me to tell you the one time we didn’t go in the ocean last summer in Santa Cruz because Great White Sharks had been spotted, which then led me to showing the girls clips from Jaws) #teachablemoments
Charlie’s story then morphed into the best people to be a small group with at school, and who’s little brothers and sisters showed up during distance learning just to say hello. This then led to that one time of recess tag, when according to Charlie, she tagged a fellow classmate, but the girl refused to admit, she was out. THE INJUSTICE OF IT ALL.
I also found out - shocker - that Charlotte’s favorite subject in school is lunch.
We had just recently cleaned out (Chernobyl) Charlie’s room, which took (500) 3 hours, where we had to downsize her stuffed animal collection (Hoarders-real life) to half. The tears began to well up as she pulled out her stuffies, who in her words, “had been with her since the beginning.”
Don’t be fooled. This adorable red headed cutie had successfully duped me the last time I had tried to downsize stuffed animals explaining, “I can’t choose Mama. Don’t make me choose. They are all family. We can’t separate the families.” I don’t think our former President would be a fan of Charlotte’s thinking.
Side note: while cleaning her room, we also found Wind in the Willows (it was under 55 stuffed animals) and I strong-armed her into reading a chapter each night with me before bed. I never got to this book with the first four, because I thought, “there will be plenty of time.”
As we hiked, we hunted for the perfect stick to create a butterfly mobile (google that shit). As I spotted one, grabbed it like a winning lottery ticket, and prayed it wasn’t seasoned with poison oak, Charlotte shared her hopes for her last year in Elementary school. Simply including a teacher who was “so funny and wears crazy hats on Fridays” and her best friend to be in the same class. Fifth grade dreams are real.
And as she yammered on, I finally got it. The veil is thin. Marinate in every single word.
Because in the blink of an eye, this last best surprise baby ever, is going to get her period, then get a boyfriend (or girlfriend - the kids are very fluid these days), graduate high school and college, and start.her.very.own.life.
So for now, before I’m old enough for her to fetch me my Ensure Protein Drink, I’m just gonna listen.
If you're a parent raising your very last chick, I see you.