Monday, May 9, 2016
One Mother's Day, Two Worlds.
She is everything a little girl should be and so much more.
She runs from room to room, eagerly and happily and like she owns the place.
She owns the place.
Much to my dismay, she prefers sweatpants to the millions of dresses in her closet; this wardrobe, growing and stretching and soft as the skin it lines. Her hair bounces in waves as her brother's, brown and sticky and wind-blown. She runs to me with arms so open, and I'm always falling in.
She is cautious, but trusting. She loves finger painting and strawberry ice cream and story time most of all. Every night she begs, "One more, mommy."
She chases after him, and he dotes on her. When she was an infant he would kiss her forehead softly, proudly. Rare is the moment I remind him to be gentle. With her, he knows. Sometimes as I watch them together, I wonder what life might have been with two boys. Not achingly, as if the world owed me that; but curiously. A different life I don't know.
I open the white jewelry box, a gift on her first birthday. The melody is soft and happy as she dances in lavender pajamas. I'm reminded of a similar tune from my childhood; a twirling ballerina. I smile as she comes to life on the carpet before me.
"Hey pretty girl," I call to her, as I've done a thousand times before. As I will a thousand times again. Gracefully she falls, laughing, hands above her head. She is caught by the softest pink sheets. Nothing will harm her here.
I take her for granted far too often, and a day never feels incomplete. And Father-Daughter dances never shake me. And trees never bend me on sunny afternoons in May.
I lay her to sleep, kiss her cheeks and her lips and her hands. I tell her she is beautiful and perfect and loved. So very loved. In a moment I remember the night two years before. How it felt when the movement stopped; what life would be if she'd left me then. Every day, never enough. No matter the joy.
I flip the light and there's a shudder; this thought of a world that never knew her. Glancing back to her face on the pillow, hall lights dancing on cheeks I've never kissed goodbye.
Someday, when she tests me I will feel a pull. Life's reminder of what might have been.
A door will slam and words hurled, violent and teenaged and misguided. I will want to throw back but I will smile instead. Knocking softly, patiently. I will wait forever. And then,
Run my fingers through her hair, hold her close, breathe her in. Every freckle. Every scar.
I will tell her how grateful I am to be her mother; how she gave us quite a scare.
What a scare.