It was supposed to be a short walk. Really, it was. It hadn't been my idea in the first place. But somehow, Piper got it into her head that we were going for a walk, and I've let her hopes down so often lately, I couldn't hand her another "no" for her growing boundary collection.
I took a break from my work to change her diaper, but she decided we were getting ready to "go-go!" and laid down with rare compliance to get the change, complete with "goop" for the diaper rash she's had this week. (She always makes sure we remember the "goop.") As I finished, she was chattering away about "pants" and "shoes" and how we were going for a "wa'k" (she hasn't got that "l" yet), and when she was dressed again, she ran to the gate in front of the door with such a happy, "one, two - SIX!" (she knows "three,' I know she does! Only it's "pfhree" with her...) - I just couldn't turn her down.
So we went for a walk. I intended only to go to the end of the street and back, but the first 200 feet took us 15 minutes, because Piper was finding treasure.
She stopped for handful after handful of acorns to put in her pockets ("pox"), and we found feathers and a red dogwood "beerwee" and a round rock. She likes those rocks. We found little white flowers (that wilted overnight).
Finally, after stopping every ten steps or so, I impatiently asked her if she wanted to go to the park (for the sake of getting somewhere, since I was already time-wasting in my mind) and we finally started walking, treasure-laden.
I don't think of fallen acorns and rocks and feathers and dogwood berries and random pink squirrelies as treasure. I've been so busy trying to record and process pictures of others' memories in time for Button's birth; it's all I can see most of the time. But I'm missing my own treasure, holding back my heart from her "until later," because I just have to get through this so she can have all the time she wants.
But I wonder, will she still be here when I'm done?
It is not as if I'm at work, putting her in daycare. But working from home has its own set of challenges, because the work is always here, always something I should be doing, should be getting done. I'm not smart enough to balance this; her heart-needs don't fit my schedule. They don't fit any schedule, stopping every ten steps to collect something that she values, something I roll my eyes at, because I just need to get to the end of the street and back so I can do what I need to do.
Last week, I worked non-stop, up early, up late, ignoring Piper as much as possible - and I didn't meet my deadline, because my baby-body is too tired. My eyes just quit working after a certain point; I couldn't stay awake. I don't know how I'm going to finish this month. I don't need any more interruptions.
But Piper's not simply an interruption. She's not even a break from my work. She's a treasure. I have to stop, pick her up, put her in my heart-pocket, even if I've only made it ten steps in.
(Image © Informal Moments Photography)