Schedules being what they are, I've only picked the girls up from daycare/after school twice. It's kind of a bummer because pickup was always one of my favorite things when Alexis was tiny. There's something about that pure glee that spreads across a little person's face when they first see you that is just plain magical.
Alexis may be a super cool 9 year-old at this point, but she's still happy to see her mommy at the end of the day. That means the two times I've picked the sisters up, she has been all smiles. I know it won't always be that way, so I like to take a mental picture of her "it's so nice to see you!" face each time it is pointed my way.
And Mila. Little Miss Mila Monster. She is glee on legs, so that moment when she looks up and realizes she KNOWS THAT BIG PERSON AT THE DOOR! is pretty fantastic. Watching recognition wash over her face is the sort of thing you want to replay over and over and over and over.
That right there is enough. It's enough that the girls are excited to see me. It's enough to get to pick them up just a few times and get to experience that magic.
But one of those two times I picked them up, there was more.
Mila is often in a terrible mood when she gets picked up. She's hungry (her own fault -- she has never given in and accepted bottles at daycare) and she's sleepy (still her own fault since she controls whether her eyes are open or not) and generally just a mess. You get that moment of pure happy when she first sees you, but once you set her down to strap her into her car seat, it's all over. She's ready to hunt for her own food if she has to.
Generally she falls asleep in the car because sleepy wins over hungry, but that one day she didn't. She didn't fall asleep because Alexis couldn't stand seeing a sad Mila. Alexis decided to transform into the ringmaster of a circus in the back seat. When you're picturing in your head what that might look like, you should probably envision a youthful female version of Jim Carrey in The Mask. She was contorting her face, making crazy noises, and generally acting a fool.
Mila was loving every second of it.
As Mila laughed and laughed until tears were running down her face, Alexis kept up the show. They maintained a special level of crazy the entire way home.
That. That right there. That moment. Maybe that's why we had to wait 8 years for a Mila. Maybe we had to wait so that Alexis could have a chance to grow into the amazing sister she was meant to be.