Vardalos, currently starring in For a Good Time, Call, has also added author to her resume, with the upcoming April 2013 release of her new book, Instant Mom, in which she chronicles her journey of adopting a daughter in 2008 with only 14 hours notice.
In an exclusive blog, Vardalos shares how she is savoring the season’s fleeting moments and learning to cherish each sweet memory with her daughter — especially from the front seat of her car.
It’s fall. Are you thinking what I’m thinking? I mean, when I last looked up it was June.
Ever since I became a parent, time moves far too quickly. My vision always feels like I’m wearing giant kaleidoscope-goggles.
The past three months of summer meld into one colorful blur like a dropped rocket — popsicle melting on the sidewalk. As images whiz by my eyeballs, I see my daughter squealing down a water slide, now running out of art class covered in glow paint, and then kicking her pink ball across the field at soccer camp.
In the time before I was a mom, my summer days were not like this at all. On a film set, the summer work day is long because the director needs to make use of every bit of that long-lasting sunlight.
Afterward, if we’re away on location, many of the cast and crew usually find a place to eat a late dinner together. It sounds exotic and exciting and yep, it is and I’m grateful for it … but still, I used to sit there and wonder if I would ever be a mother.
In an instant, I became a mom and now my summer days are a steady stream of driving my daughter to playdates, stopping to get swim goggles, getting a text from the hostess to pick up cupcakes and extra ice, then hanging in a backyard addictively munching Goldfish crackers and chatting with other parents as we all watch our kids put on a play about fairies or pretend to be tigers/dogs/monsters maniacally chasing each other across the lawn.
I sit in this comfortable lawn chair and marvel at how quickly my life changed … as peals of kids’ belly laughs echo through the air and the sun sets.
My favorite part of any playdate comes later when I get to carry my exhausted and sleeping daughter to the car.
Is there anything more trusting than a sleeping child completely and utterly leaning into your body?
Like a lot of kids, my daughter can pass out anywhere but as I carry this precious cargo, I walk slowly, so very carefully. Her breath is dewy-soft and gentle against my neck and I try not to jolt her awake as I set her into the booster seat.
But I shouldn’t worry — not even the closing car door can jar her from this blissful state of pure-fun exhaustion.
The girl who was belching a made-up tiger song a few hours ago is now bathed in a holy moonlight that makes any child look like a Norman Rockwellian angel. Her cheeks are flushed, her hair is in moist ringlets and her lips are curled into a smile that surely means she’s dreaming of eating chocolate ice cream in bed.
I should start the car but instead I sit in the driver’s seat, looking back at her. With everything moving so fast now, I have to grab this chance to watch her innocently and beautifully breathing in and out.
The night is completely still.
What a relief.
– Nia Vardalos