Sofie has begun to be a bit more independent. Right now, this is a good thing.
A couple of examples. On Tuesday, Sofie took a long mid-day nap. Once she woke up, she spent most of the aternoon sitting on the futon next to Anna flipping through one of Anna’s magazines and her own board books. They sat there together for most of the rest of the afternoon. Anna got up and did some odds and ends from time to time. Sofie stayed on the futon “reading.” This would normally be considered unusual. In the recent past, when Anna’s out of sight, Sofie is anxious–if she even let’s Anna get out of sight.
This morning, Sofie got up at her normal time (five-o-dark-hundred). I knew she would be up till I left for work. I had hoped to pray the morning office, but was sure Sofie would demand my focused attention. Then I remembered Anna’s recounting of Tuesday afternoon. So I thought I would try an experiment.
I sat Sofie on the futon with the “book of the morning”–the one she was attentive to today. I then lit the vigil lamp and invoked the Trinity. I crossed myself with the blessing cross and venerated it. Then it occurred to me: I need to include Sofie. So I walked over to the futon, signed her with the blessing cross and offered it to her to kiss, which she did. I then continued with the rest of my prayers.
Sofie didn’t stay on the futon, but she did stay occupied, moving here and there playing with this and that. A couple of times she came up to me, wanting me to pick her up. While I continued to pray, I stroked her hair and signed the cross on her forehead. That seemed to satisfy her and she continued to play. Sofie played noisily, I don’t hesitate to say. And with the need to keep half-an-eye on her to make sure she wasn’t going to climb on or grab something that would result in her being hurt, I also don’t hesitate to say that it wasn’t an instance of the most focused attention I’ve ever given to my prayers. But maybe other parents out there will sympathize with me when I say that since Sofie was born, I don’t often have the luxury of the sort of focused attention in worship that I once did.
Our prayers wound down. Sofie would sing in her own way when I sang the Gloria or other refrains and hymns. When it was over, I venerated our diptych of the Theotokos and the Pantokrator. I brought them over to Sofie where she was playing, and she kissed them, too.
Yes, this sort of independence is good. Call me in a decade and the sort of independence that will be on its way may not feel quite so good.
Thank God for everything.