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A few weeks ago, I asked Julia what she'd like to be for Halloween. After tossing around "Princess Ariel," "Princess Aurora," "Princess Jasmine," and "A Princess," Julia finally settled on: "A mom."
"Really, Juje? What would you wear if you were a mom?"
"A purse...and some lipstick...and some fancy shoes. And maybe I could have some red vino?"
We just spent a week at my mother's house, and I'm pretty sure that Julia's image of what makes a mom has been forever altered. Our week at "Mimi's" was a caramel-covered, pumpkin-decorating, ghost-hanging Halloween extravaganza, where Julia paraded around in Mimi's handmade costumes and helped offer every trick-or-treater on the block a personalized bag of goodies.
At Mimi's house, milk is served in glittery pumpkin cups with crazy straws and a squirt of Hershey's syrup—usually with a special side order of "Mimi cookies." Tea parties are held on linen-covered tables with real teacups and white gloves. There are pancakes made with fresh blueberries—in November—and banana splits before bed. Even the play food is homemade—fettucini with meatballs and bow-tie pastas meticulously hand-crafted from felt and fabric so delicious-looking that you might actually mistake one for the real thing and end up with a mouthful of fuzz.
It's no surprise that for the better part of this past week, Julia has wanted nothing to do with me. Nothing. As in:
"Can I have a snack?"
"Sure, Juje, I'll get you something to eat."
"NOOOOOOO! I wanted MIMI to get it!"
Even my cuddly Charlie, who is normally such a mama's boy, was writhing and screaming in my arms when I put him to bed each night. When I'd finally throw in the towel and slump downstairs, leaving Charlie screaming in the crib, Mimi would go upstairs to give it a shot, either expertly putting him to sleep in minutes, or sneaking him downstairs to walk him to sleep in the stroller. The next morning, she'd wake up with bright red lips—chapped from kissing Charlie too much.
Now, we're back at home, where tomorrow's breakfast pancakes will be fetched from the freezer and tonight's dinner was made by Papa Gino. I'm pretty sure Julia and Charlie must think they're getting a bum deal.
But, just before we left for dinner, Julia ran up to her bedroom to grab her purse and her fancy shoes. She slung the purse over her shoulder and clomp-clomp-clomped down the stairs, calling back over her shoulder: "I'm Dana." And as we arrived at the restaurant, she said—apropos of nothing: "Daddy, I'm glad you picked mama to marry, because she's just the kind of mommy I wanted."
My eyebrows must have shot through the roof. I looked at Will, laughing, and thought:
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Read the next entry: 11.12.07: Time Flies