Thursday, May 10, 2012

In Time

Dear Luciana,

We were grounded today since my car died two days ago and Daddy and I are sharing his for the moment. It was perfect--we couldn't do any errands or even any outings that require a car, so we took 2 walks, played in the yard both morning and afternoon, had a visit from a wonderful friend, and crawled around the house no less than 15 times. Yes, WE crawled. Not just you. My knees are constantly bruised these days; yours somehow have not a mark.

I've been wanting to write to you for a good week. As usual time is flying by in the beautiful blur that is being your mama. Each moment is so crystalline while it's happening, but suddenly you're 9 1/2 months almost, it's getting near the end of another week, and time feels so fast when I say that. I sit with you to eat 3 or 4 times a day now. We have breakfast, lunch and dinner, and sometimes we're getting wild and throwing in a snack. (You still nurse a lot: we both seem to like it.) You were feeding yourself a couple of days ago--which suddenly is of much greater interest to you than having me feed you---and I was looking at you, offering you bites from a spoon, in a way that was no big deal--we're getting the hand of this.  Then I had one of those moments where time freezes and I said to myself  "this is my daughter feeding herself". This girl who 9 months ago spent her days lying on me, her daddy, any one of the people who love her and came to visit her, waved her arms and legs a little but couldn't roll, couldn't go anywhere, couldn't digest food. This is my daughter who gets around the whole house now. Who stands and balances and makes the same sound every time she sees a cat. This is my daughter who looked me straight in the eye a few mornings ago and said "mama". This is my daughter who turns the pages of her own books, who takes everything out of everything, who invites me to play by waving her arms and tells me when she's done eating by pulling on her bib. This is may daughter who I see doing these things every day and it's just who she is until I am stunned, stupefied, speechless when time freezes and I say to myself This is Who She Is. This is who you are. And a month from now, if I write something like this, You Now will be rolled into new skills, sounds, interests, expressions. Your face will look just slightly different. You'll have a little more hair. Certain clothes I love to put you in I will have folded up and stored in the garage because they don't fit you anymore.

Nothing has marked the passage of time like being your mother. I won't say I want to freeze time. I don't: I don't wish I could freeze you or freeze me or freeze the magnificent adventure of being with you. But I wish I could expand my brain. So that I remember the exact size of your feet when you were born. So I remember the little wave of your hair in the back as it is now. So I remember the way you move your mouth in a silent "ba ba ba ba" when you're concentrating on standing. Because these are clear to me now, but when you're 18 how will I remember it all? And I want to remember it all.

On our afternoon walk today in the Ergo you fell asleep. I didn't expect it:  you were full of energy when we set out. But it was warm and golden out, you had a little hat on that I suppose gave you some privacy and maybe toned down a bit of the stimulation, and all of a sudden, about 10 minutes from home you fell asleep. It was such a treat. I used to walk you three times a day to help you sleep, and though it is wonderful for both of us that you love your crib now, I miss the feeling of you sleeping on me, and getting to hold your little head in my right hand and being quiet: not talking on my phone or needing to do anything other than walk and feel you resting. I walked a bit extra, and then I decided to try something: I went home and climbed onto the big orange chaise in the front yard, keeping you in the Ergo. You didn't stir. And we lay there for about half an hour until you woke up. And I remembered a year ago, when you were due in 2 1/2 months, and the weather started to get warm and the artichoke plant was full and the succulents in the front yard were blooming and I lay on that chaise. I lay on that chaise and felt you, and today, with you resting on my belly and chest and the artichoke full and the succulents blooming, I breathed and felt you. And if you had me close my eyes and placed 2000 babies on my chest and belly I would know you when you got there. I don't know how to explain it, but what I felt last year and what I felt today were exactly the same. You are an unmistakeable presence to me, and wherever you are in the world or in your life, you can always come sleep on me.