And Then She Saw The Sun

When Ellen was born I was scared of her. She was very small and incapable of communicating in metaphors. She didn't speak a language I understood and she needed absolutely everything. This isn't to say that my maternal instincts were completely lacking, they were there - just buried under crippling amounts of insecurity, which I then tried to bury further by shoveling on some insane notions of what it meant to be a perfect mother. I lived tried to live like that for several months. I don't recommend it. Now that I've tried both, I like sanity much better.

In these 15 months following her birth I've gotten to know her. We jive. We hang out. We talk. The balance has shifted from being scared of her to being scared for her. My genetic make-up dictates that I have to worry about something - so right now, it's pretty much her most of the time. I have to remind myself to enjoy the moments of our lives as they happen, not trying to catch up on what she and Eddie are laughing at in another room because I was near the dryer trying to perfectly fold a towel, a towel that she'll most likely pee on in the next 24 hours.

A few weeks ago, she and I were in the house together and I was trying to balance "getting things done" and spending time with her. She was in the same room with me, an invisible tether carefully crafted with the help of a closed bedroom door. I was folding laundry. One eye on the laundry, one eye on the tot.

I think I'm relatively close to figuring out that you can actually only do ONE of those things at a time - but there are days I am blinded by an extra helping of optimism and hope (and maybe a little desperation because the laundry is piling up) into thinking that I can still do both.

I know she's o.k. because I can see her near the window, so I'm matching socks. Stripes, solids, dots, small, medium, large... and I notice that she stops. She never stops. She's always talking and moving and running and climbing and reaching and grabbing. And doing. It can seem like indiscriminate busyness, all the time, everywhere. But she stopped. She stood almost motionless and stared down, where the sun shone through the window and onto the floor, right next to her feet. I stopped too, to live the moment.

I watched her slowly move her arm in and out of the sun beam, seeing that she had control of the motion of the shadow it created. She purposefully spread her fingers and turned her hand over in the light. I can imagine she felt the warmth and noticed the difference. I watched her learn. Just as quickly, she abandoned the task and moved on to my closet where I had to prevent her from tasting the heels of my shoes.

I wanted to remember that moment because in it, I wasn't worried and I wasn't scared. I was captivated. I was held at attention by the way the sun found her curls, by the intentional way she moved her hand, by the sappy, campy wonder of it all. When I worry for her, for when she's older, I hope I can remember this. I didn't have to help her find the light. She found it on her own.

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Fifteen Minutes In The Morning

Before six.

I finish my bath.
His turn.

He gets out of the bed, where he's brought her to snuggle.
My turn.

The door is closed.
I hear the sound of water running.

I hope it doesn't wake her.
She smells like morning and
love and
curls and
talks sometimes in her sleep and
then giggles and
worry (because I can't live without her) and
urine (because you don't change the diaper when you want to snuggle)
fifteen minutes in the morning.

His shower is over.
His turn.


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