There have been many times in my life when I thought, "I am the worst daughter ever." Like the times when I would yell at my mom in my teenage years, or the times that I have forgotten to call/write on their birthdays, or the Christmas' that have passed that I overlooked sending a gift to them, or when months pass and I have neglected to pick up the phone because life just feels "too busy" to call. Yes, these are all true. I know. It is shameful. There are many days that I wonder why they have not totally disowned me as their child. After having my own child I am convinced the only reason they even still call me is because of that strange, incredible, very forgiving love that exists between parent and child. I thank God for that love.
I am not sure if this one takes the cake, but I am definitely having a moment today when once again I find myself thinking, "I am the worst daughter ever." I just finished spending 3 wonderful, glorious days with my parents and I did not take ONE (no, not one) picture. And I am A PHOTOGRAPHER! Seriously. What was I thinking? Feelings of guilt creep in a little, but more then that I just feel REALLY sad that I neglected to capture this really special time that we shared. It was a so terrific. I figured tonight that I would just have to journal about it a little, to you internet, so that I can capture this feeling and try and retain it, try to mold it into a memory that stays without the photographic reminders.
We really did have a glorious time. The first day just filled with relaxing and visiting and a fun dinner at a 50's Diner. The second day was a full day's trip (6 hours!) to the San Diego Zoo. Wednesday was the Scripps Birch Aquarium and then a scrumptious dinner out at the 94th Aero Squadron restaurant.
But it wasn't the activites that made this visit feel so special and stand out to me. It was the little things.
It was my parents listening to me talk for about 6 hours straight the first day with intense listening ears. Being genuinely interested and excited about the things that are important to me right now. (they have always been good at this)
It was that with every meal I made for them my parents both gave me enough compliments that I am actually CONVINCED now that, if I wanted to, I could be the head chef at a fantastic culinary restaurant. Not the type of compliments that feel hollow or routine, but they are genuine. They mean them. And they aren't shy about handing them out. At the end of the days with them I really do feel like I could do anything; I am soaring. Really I think what it is is that they just appreciate the little things in life. They appreciate the little things on a kind of level that I have never seen in anyone else. I love that about them.
It was also that they love my daughter. I know you are thinking, "she IS their grand daughter". But my parents have 8 grand kids and 7 kids of their own. Many of the "oh that is so cute" moments, my parents have seen before (more then a few times before!) And my daughter (although I love her to pieces!) has become quite the personality. I recognize that she might be a little much for some people. But they loved her. They got a kick out of the same things I love about her. They laughed at her silliness and her jokes and her quirks the same way I do. And there is something really special about that to me. It completely touched my heart.
It was also the way that Dayla took to them. Dayla has the blessing of getting to see her other grandparents (Grandma and Papa) a little more then once a month. My parents on the other hand she will probably see not much more then twice a year. I guess that is just the way it is sometimes. So as you can imagine, I knew Dayla would not remember Grandpa and Nana from our last visit 5 months ago and I wasn't sure how these 3 days would pan out. She was unsure at first, but after a mere 30 minutes she was pretty sure they were great. I think it was at the zoo when I saw her true affection for them shine like the sun. As Grandpa pushed her stroller along to every animal she would regularly gaze up at him in love. Every once in a while she would shout out "Hi Ampa!" When she was out of the stroller it didn't take her long to figure out that Nana was her lady. Without coaxing she happily lead Nana by the hand and pointed where to go next. When she took off running down the hill she was delighted to see Nana right behind her, both of them laughing the entire way. I think Dayla really feel in love when she figured out that Nana played "peek a boo"...and unlike most game-players...Nana had no problem keeping pace with her desire to play it for 25 minutes straight. Reflecting on the 3 days now I can see why it only took Dayla 24 hours to be able to say "Ampa" and "Nana" with almost perfect diction. Why when she woke up Wednesday morning she was thrilled when I said we got to see Grandpa and Nana again. She is smitten. And I can't blame her. They are pretty great.
So thanks for an amazing visit mom and dad! Thank you for making the trek to see us. Thank you for blessing us with dinners out, with compliments, with fun-filled days and most importantly for blessing us with time with YOU. Love you.