Sunday, September 7, 2008
Three short years
My baby is turning three in two weeks. She has morphed this summer into a real little girl. She actually has a full head of hair instead of the patchy chemotherapy mop she sported before her last birthday. She rides a Harley. She says words like "actually" and "startled" and "concentrating" and "privacy." She tells me it's her turn on the computer and elbows me out of the way so she can open Firefox and go to the pictures of airplanes and point and click on the ones she wants. She laments the fact that she is too short to drive. She knows all the verses to 'Be Thou My Vision.' She can put on her own shoes. She lets me read books without pictures so that we are halfway through Laura Ingalls Wilder's 'By The Shores of Silver Lake.'
One sixth of the time she will spend under my roof is gone. Somehow what little baby fat she had melted away and her skinny feet grew and her sentences got longer and she stopped wanting to hold my hand when she went down the stairs.
During the first six months of her life, I felt like I would never make it. I remember having lunch at my friend Arlene's house when Frankie was a screaming sleepless three-week-old. Another friend was there who had just had her fourth baby and she mused conspiratorially, "There's nothing like a mother's love, is there?." I wanted to weep. It took six months before I had one full day without thinking for a moment that I wished I hadn't had her. And yet here I am, almost three years later, thinking how bleak and colorless my life was before her and how rich and complicated and huge it is now that she's in it.