Magdelana was born in July 2007. For the first year of her existence, you could almost measure the amount of time she spent separated from me or Becca in minutes. When Becca returned to work after maternity leave, it made sense for Magdelana to hang out with me. I work from a home studio, which is a slightly-more friendly place for an infant to hang out than in a dental office.
The number of hours Magdelana spent in my lap in front of the computer are incalculable. The hours we spent listening to music, making art, taking expeditions to the city, trying to learn Norwegian and French...they are innumerable.
I told Becca, I know you miss your daughter terribly every time you have to leave her. But you have my promise, my vow that she will always know that.
So she was glued to my side. Work, play, baking, cleaning, laundry, client meetings, inside, outside, upstairs, downstairs...the bonding time we had those first three years was wonderful. Challenging and coffee-filled.
Now, our work schedule is a little different and I have to be away 2-3 days a week. Two children. A little more difficult to take two into some situations. I have spent more time away from Johannes after three months than I did away from Magdelana in her first three years.
I recall three distinct periods of Magdelana's life where I have become of...secondary interest to her. Secondary to what? Secondary to whatever, or more specifically, to whomever happens to be around. There was a little chunk of time in Year 1 and Year 3. And now.
I am not a fan of guilt trips. I have no guilt trip to give her. Her personality and her intentions are honest. I do not want otherwise. It is a phase, and it will pass, without commentary by me to her. We still have many great times, but at this specific juncture, I happen to be a person of less interest to her. Everything is "Mama, mama, mama!" She loves her Mom. Becca. And I love that. A little sting? Yep. But I have no doubt of her love and loyalty to me. I will take all the good times I can get.
And today was one of those extra-good times. After accepting the fact that Becca was at work for the day, and therefore unavailable, she moved on to her distant second choice. Me. Or rather, third choice, after Johannes. We did some drawing in Photoshop - she is learning how to use a Wacom tablet and spell letters on the keyboard - and made some little doll furniture out of old magazine covers. A blast, soundtracked by Vampire Weekend and Peter Gabriel.
designed by Magdelana Deluca 2010.
But the best. The very best. Was around noon. With squirming Johannes under one arm and Magdelana telling me how hungry she was, my cell rang. A work-related call I had to take. Mags, I'll make lunch as soon as I'm off the phone, I distractedly told her. As I picked up the call, she confidently told me that she would make lunch.
Ten minutes later, off the phone, still bouncing Johannes over my arm, she walks out of the kitchen. Stepstool pushed up to the counter, splashes and crumbs and smears all over, she had prepared lunch for us:
Two peanut butter sandwiches, with a quarter inch of Adams crunchy lovingly smoothed across slices of Dave's Killer bread. Each tucked inside a brown paper lunch bag, sans plastic baggies.
We are going to go have a picnic lunch on the front porch now, she announced, not doing an effective job of concealing satisfaction at a job well done. Outside we marched.
It was the best peanut butter sandwich I have ever had.