Friday, July 23, 2010

Blink

Did I blink and miss the last several years? How is it that my baby girl, once round and plump and baby-breathed, will be seven in one short day? A mass of sharp edges and muscles, she exists in a divergent plane, so severely different than where she began. I swear I just closed my eyes for a one-Mississippi and now...I am the mother of a four-year-old and an almost-minted-seven-year-old. A mother to showing-rib-cages and complete sentences. To long, lean angular lines.

Every night, I stealthy steal into their bedrooms to plant long, smothering kisses on their cheeks--the too-long kisses they shirk during waking hours. But as I pad into their rooms, I stop abruptly when I see those long, lean masses in their beds. Didn't I just lay a swaddled baby into a crib here? Didn't I just change that diaper and check to make sure no strings or blind pulls were near that crib? Wasn't I just frantically placing light switch covers? And wasn't I just rubbing chubby wrists, padded hands and succulent, rotund thighs?

When did my children stretch and lengthen and become so lean and sinewy? And when did they start to look so old? When did their round bellies give way to sculpted rib cages? Where did their treasured baby fat go?

Today, in the parking lot, Abby walked beside me as I pushed Henry in the cart. (No small feat, by the way, to get Henry in the cart since he's a 41 pound chunk of little man.) I looked down at Abby. But not too far down as she is, in her own words, as tall as my breasts. (She'd better hope she's measuring when I'm wearing my superduper lifting bra which restores me to my pre-breastfeeding glory...if you call a 34B glory, which I do, so there.) Anyway, I asked Abby, as she elegantly walked beside me, how she got to be so old. It was not a rhetorical question. I hoped that she might provide an insight into how we arrived at this point, with her blond curls casually pulled into a hair tie, with her hip, effortless outfit swaying as she walked, head high, scanning the parking lot for cars.

She shrugged and said cheerfully, "I don't know."

Exactly.

Me neither. With each shift, a moving smorgasbord of passing delights and newfound joys entice me. While I say goodbye to the chubbiest wrists, an eloquent metamorphosis greets me. Angular cheeks and long muscles usher in sweet independence and brave, new territories. Eye rolls, yes. But also intelligent questions which track my line of thinking. Lovely conversations. All at once symbolizing the final chapter and the first words of a new phase. The babies are gone. In their place live children. Sitting in open spaces and sprawling those long, lean legs.

That fierce, fire-in-my-belly love morphs, too. Deeper. More...connected. Seriously humbled. Amazed at how little I truly knew when I started this parenthood caper and how much knowledge I have yet to gain. With each passing day, I morph into a more accepting version of myself. I become less sure, but sure that less sure is okay. I learn from these little, or not-so-little, souls--and revel in their gracious ability to teach me.

And the love grows. Abby will be seven tomorrow. Seven. We all grow, apart and together, sometimes merely co-existing. I'm growing, too, while once again, trying not to blink.

8 comments:

Theta Mom said...

Trying not to blink - I love that! And I think it's different with daughters, don't you? Maybe because we are one ourselves.

Happy Birthday to your little girl!!!

Lindsey said...

Happy birthday to the long lean tall 7 year old!
I am so familiar with these questions, and this wonder: where did they come from, these full-fledged people? I'm also still waiting for the real mom to come home. I surprise myself as much as they do.
Happy, happy day. xox

Courtney said...

Why do I always seem to read your blog after a) applying makeup or b) just snapping at my children, so that I either have to hightail it over to my Almay waterproof mascara and reapply....or slink over to my girls with my tail between my legs to force them into a long, unsolicited hug and smooch. Regardless, once again, well said! And, I will work on my timing... :) Cheers to 7-years-of-momhood!

IASoupMama said...

Happy birthday to your daughter -- I hope that she enjoys being seven!

My oldest is about to start kindergarten, and everyone who asks after him says, "How can it be? Wasn't he just born yesterday?" It feels like it to me...

Christine said...

Seven seems a lifetime away for my kids, and yet I know I too will feel like I've blinked. My youngest, just 17 months is already outgrowing his baby legs. Every time I look at them I ache. They just do it, they make our hearts somersault over and over without even trying.

Mommyfriend Lori said...

Aww! Happy birthday to your daughter, sniff sniff! My son is turning 8 soon, how in the world is that even possible? I love your writing so much. I think I tell you that every single time I comment.

Launa said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to you, as well. I've always said that the Mama should celebrate the birthday as well.

If I had to tell the honest truth, I would have to admit that I am happier as a mom as they grow -- so while I miss my kids' littler selves, the people they are now contain all that memory as well as all the magic things they are now. But then again, I think I'm going to be way better with adolescents than I was with babes in arms.

Beautiful post. Thank you.

Lauren said...

This is SUCH beautiful post, Denise. I want to hurry up with this comment so I can read it again.

And yes, let's please meet up at blogher! I'll email you with my contact details. xo