Downstairs the Princess is chattering to Big Daddy. Upstairs the two littles and me are laying in the big bed. I lay on Big Daddy’s side, on my side. Baby Bee is in the middle and Littlebit is next to her. Littlebit rolls over and gives Baby Bee a snuggle. Baby Bee reaches out and touches Littlebit back as she drifts off to sleep.
A lot of people say that the Internet is depersonalizing us. That it stops basic human interaction. That it changes us. I agree that it changes us, but I don’t agree with the rest.
In 1998 I logged on for the first time and in May I found Big Daddy. Like he was waiting for me, wrapped up like a present. After nearly 12 years and three beautiful girls, also wrapped up like presents, I can say that for me, the Internet isn’t an impersonal place. How can it be? It added, to my life, all of these PEOPLE.
“You play game with me? Pease?”, Littlebit thrusts the wii controller and the game at me. My to-do list is long. I sit down on the floor and gather her into my lap. I hold her hand in mine over the controller and help her point.
“Yes”, I say.
The Internet brought me Big Daddy and our resulting little people. It’s done more than that. It’s changing the kind of person I am. It’s changing the kind of wife I am. It’s changing the kind of mother I am. The Internet stands up every day and reminds me that right now? Right now? Is a gift.
I look down into Baby Bee’s big eyes. They’re still muddy, changing color. Blue today, green yesterday, brown tomorrow. There’s so much to do, as always, and Littlebit is jumping on the bed like a wild woman.
“I can only rock for five more minutes”, I say. Baby Bee looks at me, considering. She calls my bluff.
I rock for another twenty minutes until she’s asleep in my arms.
Last year, I was introduced to a grieving mother who lost her toddler. And they changed me. When my patience was wavering I thought of Heather and Maddie. I thought about how Heather would love to be up to her elbows in poop or the day to day messes caused by little people and I took a deep breath and regrouped and decided it wasn’t worth being mad. I spoke softer when I was angry. I hugged when I was ready to scream. I gave in when I wanted to fight.
The year before last I was introduced to another mother, grieving her lost son. And so, I counted kicks and prayed and were thankful for every extra day I keep Baby Bee inside me, growing stronger with each day. Even though my pregnancy with her wasn’t easy, at times it was down right hard, I never wished her out. Because I learned that every single one of those days is precious. I prayed for her health, for her to be full term, for her to be born well.
The Princess struggled with hours of homework some nights. She misses mild winter weather and fluffy snow man snow.
“I wish I could play outside”, she says wistfully from the dining room table from behind her stack of paper and books.
“Go”, I say. “The homework will wait.”
And now, I’m privy to the sorrow of another family. It is crushing to consider their pain. HER pain. The quiet that is soon to overcome their house. How they will stop being an earthly family of five. How awful it is to consider not being an earthly family of five.
How I am now a part of an earthly family that used to be five.
And so, I work on sweating the small stuff even less. I take the long way because it brings someone small a little more happiness. I commit to cooking taking an extra fifteen minutes. I wipe up water off of the kitchen floor from my dish-washing help.
I say Yes.
“What’s that?”, Littlebit asks the Princess as the snowplow thumps down the street.
“Snowplow”, the Princess answers.
“Snowcow?”, Littlebit repeats. “I see snowcow?”
The Princess opens the front door and sits cross-legged in front of the glass. LIttlebit dances behind her. Waiting for the snowcow. The heat is leaking out of the house. It’s bedtime. Baby Bee is passed out in my lap instead of in her crib.
I don’t move. In my stillness, I say yes.