Sunday, August 24, 2014

Wonderful day

It was our last day in New York for this time and as I watched Zoe drift off to sleep, her arm around my neck, I felt like the luckiest woman in the world, having all of this. The last thing I had said to her before saying goodnight was that I hoped we would have many more Sundays like this.

I woke up much earlier than her, making coffee and eating half a bagel while reading, before I heard a little voice "mommy?" from the bed. We got up and while Zoe painted using her new water-based crayons, she had an idea. "Mommy, I have an idea! We can go and get nail polish on our feet!" I hesitated and said we probably didn't have time but the look on her face signified that this was a priority. We hurried down and into the nail place half a block down. I could have swore, my whole child-free life, that I would never ever take my under-14 daughter to a nail place but now that I have a daughter and she is very aware that I paint my nails (I hate to make excuses but I actually have a condition that makes all my nails look very rough without polish, which is why I like to cover them up. A bit like if you have uneven skin color and try to help it with foundation), I think it would be silly to make it into something 'forbidden'. Also, it was cheaper to take her than to go on my own while paying for a babysitter, *and* we got to spend some nice time together. We sat in adjoining chairs and chatted, her laughing uncontrollably with each strange thing happening: Why does she put cream on? That's yucky, why does she put paper in-between my toes? It tickles! We ran home just in time for the babysitter to meet us at the door. He got a happy whine from her (how am I so lucky to find someone she just instantly likes?) and I rushed out the door. I managed to exchange my iPhone cover at the Kate Spade store (who exchanged a broken one immediately without any questions) and sat down at a SoHo pastry cafe for two hours of funding proposal editing. On the way home I managed to pick up bagels and tomatoes.

Zoe dancing after getting new sunglasses
The afternoon was still young when the baby-sitter left, giving both Zoe and me a big hug, me hoping he would become a more stable person in her life. We took off for some last SoHo exploring. At the Piccolini shop she played and looked around for half an hour before finally asking if she could have the animal doctor dress-up set. I asked if that was really the one thing she would like and agreed. At the counter she picked up the very same sunglasses that I had considered buying for her two months ago but wasn't sure she would fit, and surprise, they fit her perfectly. She proceeded to take the floor, dancing to the Beyonce that the store owner turned up. None of us could stop laughing until we finally exited the store, heading for food.

We sat down at Jacque, where Zoe could get french fries and I could get chardonnay. She immediately tried on her veterinarian kit and played doctor with the toy dog until turning to inject me with various medical concoctions (this is good for you, it will make your polka spots go away!) and telling me my temperature was way too high. The older couple next to us asked politely where we were from and I sighed silently before giving a simple story: We are Danish but go here all the time. Zoe is also American. The guy started a long story about him visiting Copenhagen in the early 70s and Zoe got mad at me for not giving her any attention. When we later talked about it, I told her that it is polite to listen to people you don't know and then you sometimes ignore the ones you know. It's all about pleasing people you don't know because the people you know they already like you. But I realized that made no sense and I apologized and thought I would do it differently next time.

On the way home we passed by gimme coffee; I got an almond latte and she got a glass of water. We sat on the bench outside and just chilled and talked. "I wish this could be every sunday", I told her and she said the inevitable. "But what about daddy?" "Hmmm" was my answer.

As I  was packing up our things while she watched Danish kids TV later, my mind started wandering down to that dark place that has filled my head and heart for too much of the past two years. It's exactly two years since he told me it was over. If I didn't move back in at that point, there was no way back. And I knew I couldn't at that time. Perhaps later, but not at that moment. I was finally having a bit of independence and enjoying my life in it's own right, I needed that after what I had been through. But I didn't need to split up Zoe's family. And that's when he stopped talking to me. Other than emails with information about Zoe and polite coffees where he seems like he is about to leave the whole time, he hasn't talked to me since. Eight years of relationship and three months was what I got. As I folded each piece of clothing I tasted pieces of the bitterness. The new girlfriend that Zoe had told me about (not him), leaving me depressed for several months, sitting on the kitchen floor crying silently so Zoe wouldn't notice. The thought that Zoe will grow up split between two parents. The ultimate goal that I cannot talk about yet. The fact that as much as I like guys and think there are many sweet versions out there I can't imagine ever getting into a serious relationship again. I just can't trust anyone like that again.

I squeezed my shoes into the suitcase but didn't attempt to close it. "Time for bed", I heard myself say and Zoe surprisingly said okay. After some vague toothbrushing, we snuggled up in the bed together. What a wonderful day I thought and felt like the luckiest woman in the whole world having all of this.  

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