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Sunday was a spur-of-the-moment, wonderful day with my daughter, Em. It was raining and cold. JDubbs had a bathroom to paint and a trip to Home Depot on the docket. Of course, Jax tags along, too, because there's nothing like an orange apron to make boys happy. So Em and I had a free day to whatever we pleased. We chose the mall.
Now, remember, the malls around here are not the malls you are thinking of. The nearest legitimate "mall" is 45 minutes away, and we're talking the bare bones of shopping. We get the more blue-collar department stores like Sears and JC Penney instead of Nordstrom or even Macy's. There is only one level. There was a tractor display in front of the BigKmart. Maybe now you get my drift. But Em and I had a mission to get Jax some sweatpants to finish out the winter in, since he had a growth spurt recently and his sweatpants look like clam diggers. I don't know about all of you, but doesn't it drive you crazy that it's the beginning of March and I can't buy sweatpants anywhere? Shorts and bathing suits to my heart's content, but God forbid my kid gets taller before summer. So I went to the mall to scour the clearance racks and wound up with a few pairs with the ankle-suffocating elastics, but at least the kid can go outside without getting frostbite.
Anyway, the point of this post was Em and me. We had our first girls' day out. She slept the entire way there, even with the additional 25 minutes it took due to my missing an exit (oh, yes, when exits are 12 miles apart due to lack-of-civilization, it's not like you can just turn around. And what was I doing on the highway anyway? I wasn't even supposed to take that highway. Shows you how often we get to the mall up here in the Middle of Nowhere. I was delirious with shopping fever). She woke up at eleven, Mama was hungry, so I was totally ridiculous and went through the Taco Bell drive-thru then parked in the parking lot. I climbed into the backseat next to her, (oh, yes, by the way, I was in the Jetta, not the van), then fed her her homemade lunch while she was still strapped in with one hand and enjoyed my Crunchwrap with the other. It was quite a sight, I'm sure, and I thought to myself, I wish I had a picture. Ah, well. After our twenty minute meal with the car turned off, I realized we really fogged up the windows like teenagers parked outside their parents' house, so I had to wait and defrost them all, which was so random and funny. Em was not amused and wanted to get out of her carseat immediately. Another funny mental picture. Finally, after an hour and a half in the car, we made it to the mall.
Once I got there, I realized that I had no stroller, and it was raining. No umbrella, either. So I pulled her out of her carseat and we sprinted inside. A little wet but no worse for the wear. Em was loving the adventure. Then we headed into Old Navy, who thankfully has carts with little seats in the front like a stroller. Em was the queen of all she surveyed.
Again, I should have taken a picture. She loved smiling at everyone, flirting and acting shy. She loved all the colors and million things to grab at eye level. She sat patiently in that stroller for over an hour, pulling off the hats I eventually bought her, trying on shoes (which I eventually bought her). She helped me find Jax a few things and even Daddy got a new shirt. It was exactly what I imagined shopping with my daughter would be like, only better, because she doesn't have an opinion yet. Just smiles. And more smiles. Happiness for all.
We left Old Navy with a heavy bag (containing potential birthday dress #2), still no stroller, my purse, and headed to American Eagle for Mama. Again, she was a star. Let me lug her around and didn't try to wiggle away, swipe things off displays or fuss. She played with the adorable little girl in the mirror of the dressing room (her reflection, her new best friend) and laid on her belly while playing with my phone. I can't believe I didn't get a picture.
She was being so fabulous. I couldn't believe how easy it was with just one after having two with me everywhere. It was one of those moments when even though you're in it, you're still outside of yourself saying, This is a great day. You're going to want to remember this day as important. She is exactly what you always hoped she'd be. This is exactly what you wanted. And then a sigh of pleasure is heaved by one and all.
So, here's the question. I live my life. I blog about it. Sometimes, while I'm living, I think this will be cute on the blog or oh, crap I need a photo of the day. On those occassions, I wonder, which came first: my blog or my life? And sometimes, the blog comes first. I plan my day around a craft I want to highlight, so I do it during Em's naptime so I can take photos. I stay outside for an extra ten minutes to get the perfect shot. I reinact something that happened organically so I have a photo to go with it. But on a day like Sunday, I made the conscious decision to be a mom first, a person second, and a blogger last. I didn't take a single photo. How unlike me is that? And there were so many opportunities; it was such a memorable day. But I made the conscious decision to be present on that day with my daughter, to not be blogging silently in my head, but to just be with her. To not make her stand there and kiss her reflection in the dirty dressing room mirror one more time because I missed it the first time and the second time my camera phone was being weird and the third time came out blurry. I was just in it.
And, as a sidenote, it was a fabulous day for the boys, too. When I called home, they were just waking up from a group nap in our big bed. Can you imagine how cute that picture would have been? Oh, there I go again. I guess the blogger in me can't be quieted for long. One afternoon is all my family gets for a little while.
I have to make an effort to have more moments like that. Where I am there first, documenting second. I can take photos in my mind and describe it all to you. Having a picture isn't worth missing the moment. I am going to try to create a better balance in our lives and prioritize which comes first. Hopefully, the blog won't be worse off for coming in second sometimes!