Once upon a time there was

A little girl.

What a whirlwind of a holiday it has been. She never failed to rise at sunrise, but was always considerate enough to quietly leave the room and let me sleep in. At camp, trying to put her to sleep early in a noisy cabin of eight where everyone slept past midnight, was a challenge. Meals had to be orderly, not sporadic as it had been during the past month. But, I was pleasantly surprised how she had improved from being picky, to happily eating cuisines with strange spices and flavours. Especially when it was made clear that there would be no other food for the rest of the night.

Everything was slower. We were packing and unpacking for two, making two beds, taking twice as long to get ready every time we went out. We stopped along the way because (although she's much more energetic than me) her little legs tired more easily from long walks through the CBD. Delighted to hear that seeing the magical fresh snow on the ski fields was a "dream come true" for her, but teaching her to ski and carrying all her gear was the most exhausting activity, ever. Then her, falling into a sleep so deep that I literally had to sit her upright when dinner arrived so that she wouldn't leave the restaurant without eating. Thinking ahead of her so I could remind her to use a fork instead of fingers, to not blurt out anything about people (or cats) being fat, to not be too loud on a coach where everyone was trying to sleep. Thinking ahead so that I would have an answer that is not TV or iPad/games, to her question of "what can we do now?" When our plans had to change, when we couldn't go somewhere we had promised, I was surprised to find her to be more understanding than a grown up. Out of our long car trips, came many new or silly variations of Cinderella, Hansel and Gretel, Snow White, Three Little Pigs (or the Three Little Wolves and Big Bad Pig) and more.

Living by yourself is different, and it always takes me awhile to adjust when together with her. I was so excited about her arrival for weeks and weeks. Then felt absolutely exhausted for several days. And eventually, as I do every time, came to the conclusion that though it's a disruption to the usual routine, her presence is something positive and delightful. Perhaps that's what it feels like, to be a parent.



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