I've always thought of you as my baby. I dreamt of you for so long, that baby we really really wanted. I mean, everyone wants their baby...well, not everyone, but that's a blog post for a different day, isn't it? Did I tell you I explained abortion to your eight year old sister?
Are you still sure you want me to be your mom?
Your hair has always been stick-straight. You've always been my baby. You still nurse, your body snuggled up next to mine as the remains of the day tick into night. I always took solace in the fact that you were getting nourishment from me, that this made you still a baby AND
quite possibly made me a little bit dependent on you as a source of identity...namely, "Mama of Little Babies."
I'm not Mama of Little Babies any more, my dear.
Today I put your hair into two little pigtails. This action was just a glimmer in a time-filled stream, and I'm afraid, my dear girl, that you and I experienced it but it's gone as fast as it came.
Tomorrow you'll be on to some new sweet and adorable or peeing-on-the-toilet-seat adventure and we'll have forgotten all about the pigtails:
|constipation tends to run in our family. sorry.|
I guess what I'm trying to say is that I always imagined you a baby, the answer to my dreams of, well, a baby.
I never thought of you as this independent, smelly-behind-the-ears-when-it's-hot-out little thing who knows what she wants and TELLS ME. REPEATEDLY. ALL DAY LONG.
I never thought of you as anything more than the answer to my angry prayers to God for a healthy child.
You're actually just like any other little kid, growing at your own little rate and enjoying spilling milk on the just-cleaned couch. I guess the thing that makes my breath catch in my throat is how you slide through these stages, knowing they were meant for you.
They were meant for me, too.
I guess I knew I wasn't perpetually going to be the mother of little babies. I mean, we all know the creepy foster parent who is 87 and adopting newborn twins. I can't be that lady, namely because when I'm 87 I'll be flirting with Julio in the Gulf of Mexico while your dad buys us Vodka shots we'll do off of my time-worn and stretch-marked belly. I'll tell war stories about the time your dad impregnated me and watched me balloon into a mountain of a woman and those stretch mark scars never went away.
I didn't want them to.
I don't want them to.
I guess what I'm saying is that I want you to stay.
I want THIS to stay; these sunshine pancake lazy Barney mornings where our biggest care is whether or not we should go to Target before or after nap.
I want you to focus hard on the fact that these are moments we have to treasure. Sometimes I get so stuck in the treasuring/camera/Facebooking of moments that they lose their golden hue. They just get cheapened somehow,
and we all know that nothing gold can stay.
I guess I just want you to know that you're teaching me things while I teach you things. I never really thought past the "having babies" part into the "these children are their own little people" part.
That is terrifying.
That is exhilarating.
The cicadas are out tonight, my love. I hear their song and it reminds me of Indian summers when I was small. Those Indian summers are no less beautiful because of their berevity. In some ways, the magic still holds because I have to pause my heartbeat to remember.
And when I do? Joy.
I remember, the day after you were born, I marveled that there was breath still in my lungs. I will tell you someday all about how the day you were born was the day I was supposed to die. I will tell you how I watched your hands, clenching and unclenching the air in the bassinet at the end of my bed as the doctors worked on me.
I remember thinking that I couldn't leave you.
I remember thinking after that I could; that you'd be OK. You were you apart from me. I knew that even then.
I didn't want to know it.
No mother wants to know such a thing, really. That she is the centerpoint of her child's life for such a brief time.
It's a spit in the face of pregnancy nausea and adoption paperwork and "I dreamt about being a mom from the time I was six."
I'm having trouble adjusting to this new you, this new independent one who knows, "GODDAMMIT! I DON'T WANT THE DOOR ON MY SIDE LOCKED WHEN I'M IN THE CAR, MOTHERRRRRRRRRRRR!"
because to me, you're still the baby I posed behind a frosted cookie, which was my first meal post-nearly-dying:
Today, as I brushed the straw that counts as hair and used the tiniest little rubber bands to hold it in place, I reflected on what I know:
I know that love, like time, grows stronger and purer and the adventures to come will blow the first-meetings and "I love you, sweet baby, good night!" out of the water.
Still, though, there was a time when I didn't have to convince you what you were going to wear. There was a time when I didn't think, "Will THIS be the last time she nurses? 1:12 pm on a random Wednesday?"
Time marches on, of course, and while I watch you grow I won't look back so much as I'll look ahead. That is where the future lies.
...and there's nothing like a last baby to remind a mother of that.