Saturday, May 4, 2013
Half a Year
Dear Baby Chip,
Two days ago, you hit your first half birthday. I don't recollect grieving a birthday smaller than ten, before, let alone a half birthday of any number, but I felt sad, Baby Chip, and still do.
I think it has to do with knowing you're my last, also with knowing harder ages are coming; I'm living three harder ages, right now, with your siblings. They sass and argue and grumble, and sometimes I can't please them even when I'm my best (deeply flawed) self.
Truth be told, I'm not ready for your first tooth or your second word. ("Mama" is just perfect, thank you very much!) I'm not ready for you to start rolling (crawling, walking, running!) away from me and eating green beans.
I will say: I long ago knew this man, living independently deep into his nineties, sharp as he'd ever been and strong. I asked him his secret; he told me he'd nursed his mother as a kindergartener. He remembered pulling a stool up to her, he said, while she washed plates in the kitchen sink. In over a decade, I haven't forgotten, and it's sounding better, less ridiculous, to me all the time.
Just: I love how your eyes follow me around the room during those rare moments that you're neither asleep nor in my arms. I love how I'm your hands-down favorite: how you nearly always smile out for me.
We were dancing to "Black Hole Sun" in the party shack, earlier, Baby Chip, and you laid your velvety head against my chest: followed our very real sun down, down with your heavy eyes and off to sleep. The others were in the yard and paying us no nevermind, so I just kept swaying under the rope lights, thinking how it's been six months and, still, every day with you feels like a miracle hard won. Wishing I could stop the clock.
And then I realized: I can. I have that power in my very fingertips. So here we are, Baby Chip, and it will always be May 2013 on this page. I wear extra weight on my hips, and I've neither colored my hair nor plucked my brows; still, you think I'm beautiful and perfect, just everything you need and even want. I tell you this against harder days, Baby Chip: it's springtime, and you and I are so very deeply in love.
Always yours, Mama