This is going to be one of those dull "life" entries, so bail out now if that sort of thing bores you ...
On Saturday morning, we went to the annual children's book festival, which is really like a small fair minus the rides and plus lots of books. G got her hair sprayed bright green and yellow; we watched a demonstration with local wild animals; she listened to a storyteller for a bit; and we bought some books, including The Fabulous Story of Fashion, which is actually about clothing through history and is much more educational than it sounds. G had an excellent time and cheerfully agreed to spend her own money on everything she wanted other than the books -- she even paid a buck for me to get three minutes in a massage chair.
After a couple of hours, we left the festival and went to the mall. This is rare, as I'm not a big mall person, but G has no long-sleeved shirts and I knew there was a sale at G*p Kids, so we went. We shopped -- she scored a skirt, four shirts and a scarf -- had lunch in the food court, and then finished up by visiting the play area, where she had a good time despite looking like Gulliver among the Lilliputians.
On a side note, I sometimes see other parents giving me the Glare o' Doom when I let G play in those places, and I know I would have done the same thing when G was a toddler and I was scared of big, rough kids with stompy feet. But it isn't G's fault that she's the size she is: she may be as tall as an 11-year-old and often mistaken for one, but she's only eight, and she already spends a lot of time being disappointed when clothes and rides and other things that are appropriate to her age are too small for her. (She just got a DVD that came with a bracelet, and she couldn't wear it because it was sized for a child and her wrist is as big as mine.) If she still has fun playing in a mall playground, I'm not going to tell her she can't, as long as she's careful around the smaller kids. Which she is.
So after all the shopping and festival-ing yesterday, we were lazy this morning. We made blueberry muffins for breakfast and managed to eat the entire tin of them between us (they were small, I swear) and didn't really get dressed until noon. Once we were finally ready for the day, we picked up food for lunch and took it to the park to eat, and then G spent about an hour playing on the equipment and climbing "her" tree, which she's decided is the Faraway Tree, from the Enid Blyton book of the same name. Afterward, we came home and made some fall/Halloween decorations for the inside of our front door, and here they are:
I was thinking, both yesterday at the book festival and today while I was cutting out paper leaves, that G and I have both come a long way since this time last year. When we went to the same festival last year, P had been dead for just under three months, and we'd been living in this place for about three or four weeks. G, normally a well-behaved kid, was reacting to all the chaos by being whiny, argumentative and impossible to deal with, and as for me, I felt certifiably insane more often than not. I couldn't take pleasure in anything, whether it was a festival or a walk in the park, and the thought of the upcoming holidays didn't make me want to decorate; it made me want to find a rock and hide under it.
Now, a year later, I may still be far from happy -- I actually don't expect ever to be happy again in the way I used to be -- but I've achieved some sort of equilibrium, and no longer feel as if I'm phoning everything in from another planet. At the very least, I'm capable of enjoying a nice, peaceful weekend with G. That's progress, and I'll take it gladly.