I hope you will forgive me a personal entry.
Five years ago, I would become a mother in two days. I was big and round, and I waddled. We were living on the other side of the country, at the time, in a small 500 square foot apartment. I had graduated with my bachelor's degree six weeks before, which had culminated in a whirlwind of 18 credits--polishing my mind against the grindstone of academia, churning out essays and papers so fast that I began to lose count. I wrote 75 pages in my last week alone. Then, my university had handed me a paper, my parents had given me a pearl ring, and my husband had given me the two disk DVD of Pride and Prejudice and I found myself with completely empty time to wait in. I reveled in that time. I got up at 7:00 every morning. I ate a slow breakfast, and got dressed. My obstetrician's office was a mile away, and I would walk to my appointments at 9:00. It was June. I watched the cherries ripen into their distinctive, vivid red. I watched the roses open their faces to the sun. I walked slowly. It seemed, to me, to be magic. I was waiting.
My daughter was born. Motherhood was ice cold water over my head--I just had to stand in it and get used to it. It was a shock. I struggled. But I had this blue-eyed child that looked like an elf, and we were busy getting to know each other. I think, for a long time, I felt like Rip Van Winkle. I felt like I was doing this motherhood thing and that, when my child and future children left home, I would pick my life back up where I left it. Only slowly did it really sink in that there would be no picking up where I left off. That the girl I was who had walked into that hospital, never walked out.
Five years. That phrase keeps clattering about in my head this weekend. Five years. That bald, screaming, blue baby is now a curly haired girl who can skip and play hopscotch. She has memories of her own. She loves disco music and ham. She is so beautiful that it makes my breath catch sometimes.
She is misunderstood, a lot. She has struggles. Not every child is kind. Not every adult is patient. But to me, she is magic waiting to happen. On the occasion that I remember to slow down enough to hold her, I trace my fingers along her translucent skin and ache to keep the child that, for now, is still mine.
I miss her already, and I wonder--who will I be, when that day comes?