Now that the days are getting longer and the sun is shining more, I am starting to realize how badly I need some kind of Happy Light or similar seasonal dysthymia-fighting device to get me through the long, dark winters from here on out. I wouldn't say that I was depressed, exactly, but now that I have Sun Fever from spring's arrival, I can measure the vast difference between the constant irritability of the past six months and the soaring feeling of endless possibility that has now emerged. Of course, all winter I was also suffering from chronic sleep deprivation due to Joe's 4am training runs, so it's hard to say whether the crabbiness was seasonal or situational. With the Boston Marathon behind us, there is still early-morning spousal running going on, but it happens at a marginally more reasonable hour (4:45am) and somehow between the slight increase in REM sleep and the boundless clear skies, I feel almost giddy.
Plus, there is Felicity and her constant stream of hilarity, which buoys me on a daily basis. A sampling of recent vignettes:
Felicity: "I want to live in a tree!"
Me: "Oh? Would you be a monkey? Or maybe a bird or a squirrel?"
F: "I would be a squirrel so I could scamper!"
In Central Park: "Oh me, oh my! So many dogs I see!"
Upon seeing a pink blossom that had fallen off a tree: "I need to pick up that flower and say 'I'm sorry' to it." She picked it up and cradled it gently and crooned, "Oh, sweet little flower, it's okay! I will hold you now."
One Monday morning at breakfast, as she sat with her little ankles crossed under the table, she said in a voice laced with melancholy, "I'm just having a hard time today because I'm sad that you're going to work, Mommy. I will miss you." (Oof.)
A few days later, as I was getting ready to walk out the door, "Mommy, wait! I need to put kisses in your pockets to keep you company while you're at the office!" And she ran over and blew kisses into my coat pockets and then gave me more on my hands and face. (We now do this every day, and it's awesome -- until the moment I close the door behind me and hear her dissolve into tears, crying, "Mama. MAMA! Don't go to work, Mama! Stay here and play with me! MaMAAAAAAA!" as I wait for the elevator. (OOF.)
Hiding under a bush in the park: "Is that a Felicity hiding under there? Is that a Felicity tree? Do you live in that tree?"
One night at bedtime, after I'd kissed her good-night and turned off the light, her little voice pierced the darkness: "Mommy! May I please talk about chickens for a minute?"
As I placed a cut-up pear on her tray at lunch: "Is this a Bartlett pear?"
After stopping to pet a woman's dog in the park on one of her weekend meet-and-greets:
F: I have a dog, too! His name is Miles. He's a little dog.
Woman: Is Miles your best friend?
F: Yes. [Miles would beg to differ.]
W: Is Mommy your best friend, too?
F: Um. Yes. But mostly only at Christmastime, and Christmas is already over.
She has figured out that a good ice-breaker is to compliment someone, so most mornings when I finish getting dressed for work, she'll pad down the hallway after breakfast and say, "Oooooh, MOMMY. I LOVE your pretty skirt! Look at your nice boots!" (and so on). And with friends or strangers, she really pours it on: "Oh, look at your nice pink shoes. I love them! They're SO beautiful!" or "Look at her sweet doggie. This doggie is so cute! Oh, he's giving you kisses!" And she really means every word, is the thing. She is incapable of guile or feigned enthusiasm. It is CRAZY CHARMING.
While giving me a check-up with her medical kit:
Dr. Felicity: Make a sad face! You're sick!
Me (grimacing): My tummy hurts.
Dr. F, after a cursory examination: I can't do anything for you, honey. I'm sorry.
Me: ... [mulling my grim prognosis]
Dr. F: I have to be going home in five minutes. Another doctor will come and see you. I'm sorry I can't do anything for you, honey.
(Just my luck to contract an untreatable disease at shift change.)
At the playground, holding out her favorite doll toward a much older girl (ten, maybe?): "Would you like a turn with Naked Baby? Please take a turn. I would like to share with you!" (The girl basically ignored her, and I sat nearby clutching the pieces of my shattered heart.)
Sitting down on a rock in the park (she must climb or sit on every rock and tree we pass) (there are a lot of rocks and trees in the park): "I call this a Cuddle Rock. Mommy! Come cuddle with me on the Cuddle Rock!"
Bustling up with Naked Baby in her doll stroller: "Naked Baby is ready to be polite now."
At home, taking Polka Dot Baby down the hall to the living room: "Come along, baby! I am going to take you on a wonderful adventure and show you all the beautiful things and the wonderful toys in the living room!"
At the Fancy Nancy musical, after sitting stock-still through the entire show, she burst into tears during the curtain call and was inconsolable as all of the tiara- and boa-clad girls filed out of the theater. When I asked, "What didn't you like about it?", she choked out, "The stopping!"
On the train en route to Brooklyn, when the subway went above ground for a couple of stops: "The train is OUTSIDE. This is CRAZY!"
After visiting our friends in Brooklyn, she fell into a pit of despair when it was time to leave: "I don't want to leave! I want to stay at Brooklyn! I want to LIVE at Brooklyn! I want to walk ALL OVER Brooklyn!" (She did essentially the same thing when we went to an open house at an apartment in our own neighborhood -- we looked around and chatted with some people for maybe 20 minutes, and as we left she fell to pieces: "I want to live here! I want to stay and talk to those nice people! I want to have lunch at the big table! I don't want to go home!" (It was an awfully nice apartment, with a garden, so any sensible New Yorker would react that way.)
While walking with Joe and me and some friends of ours, she kept craning around like a herding dog to make sure we were all together: "Is everyone here? Where are my people? I need all my people!"
As if all this weren't enough, she has started spontaneously turning to me, in the middle of playing or eating dinner or what have you, and placing her little hand on my arm or circling her arms around my body and saying, with utmost sincerity, "I love you, Mommy." (Sometimes she tacks on, "You're so sweet.")
If life gets any better than this, I don't know if I'll be able to handle it.