Monday, May 7, 2012

She Is 5, She Is Mine.

This little baby:


She is 5 today.

I don't know how it happened, but the little doll-baby with the huge blue eyes and peach-soft cheeks is now a little girl.

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Birthdays in preschool mean treats, so Darrick dropped off Rohan this morning so I could steal some sweet alone time with my first baby. She chose a fancy purple dress for school and we pulled her hair away from her face. We drove to school talking about parties and balloons. I took her to the store where she picked popsicles for the class treat, and she made sure we didn't forget Skittles for her friend in class who has allergies. He's not allowed to eat birthday treats because of fear of an allergy attack, but Skittles are on the short list of treats he is allowed.

We walked into class together, her tiny hand with newly painted nails (Hello Kitty sparkle polish) grasping mine. I handed the bag of treats to her teacher, and she pulled out the Skittles and asked for it to be put aside for her friend who can't have popsicles. I felt a tug at my heart for this girl, my girl, who always remembers her friends.

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Dinner tonight was pizza with family and best friends. We played games and won prizes and laughed and ate cake. She tickled the cheeks of her baby cousin and colored a picture of a butterfly to give her best friend.

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Since her birthday was a Monday and I couldn't miss work we made Sunday into Luca Day. "Anything you want to do," we told her. "Anything?!?!" she asked. The world hers for the taking, she chose donuts for breakfast, park and splash pad fun, and lots of cuddles.

Grandma and Grandpa took us out to dinner, her first fancy meal to celebrate a certain sense of coming of age. From toddler to child. From little girl to little lady. There were big glasses filled with Sprite and fancy linens and roses on the table just for her. There was the story, from Grandma, of how she was born and 4 days later I walked with her in my arms across a huge, hot parking lot so she could see her Daddy graduate from ASU. For dessert, she had a piece of cheesecake all to herself. Afterward, we went to a park nearby and walked around the lake. She held her brother's hand and chased trolls from under the bridges that criss-crossed the lake.

It was one of those nights where everything was perfect: the sky, the food, the company, her. Always her.

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For Christmas she asked for a horse. When we told her it wasn't likely that Santa would deliver because we couldn't possibly house one in our yard, she acquiesced and said a unicorn would do.



She got her unicorn.

When we got home from dinner, Darrick and I had to work together on installing a new ceiling fan in our bedroom, so the kids decided to make the best of it and throw an animal party. Before we knew it, every stuffed animal in the house was circled around the unicorn in her bedroom. Big and small turtles, Minnie and Mickey Mouse, three bears, a duck, a hippo, a puppy - all sitting on the floor together facing the desk in her room, where a CD was playing from her Disney Princess player.

Emancipate yourself from mental slavery;
None but ourselves can free our minds.

Bob Marley was singing and the animals were listenig. And in the middle of it all, a unicorn nursed her young. As soon as she was done, Luca dressed her properly in a rainbow glitter tutu, then took a seat to milk the unicorn.

"You're milking the unicorn?"
"Yeah, she has a baby who drinks her boobie milk. But all these other babies - " sweeping a hand over her minions, "- they all need her milk too."
"Oh, well by all means. Milk away."

They filled several small buckets with invisible unicorn boobie milk and passed them around. Letting the other animals drink the fortifying magical milk of unicorns.

I could not make this shit up if I tried. And I also can't even pretend to be anything less than smashed-to-pieces in love with this kid. This girl. This beauty. This amazing magical wonder whose soul is older than dust but whose spirit I hope stays forever young and full of wonder.

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Tonight they splashed together in a tub of bubbles, Daddy washing their hair and scrubbing their backs while I remade their beds with fresh sheets that smell of gardenias and honey. I wrapped them in towels, tousled their hair dry, rubbed lotion into their skin before letting her choose the bedtime story. I sat on the floor and she stood in front of me and it was only when she asked me what was wrong that I realized I was smoothing lotion into the knees of a kid. Not a baby, whose fat knees are smooth and puckered. A kid, whose knees hold the stories of trips and falls and scrapes and 5 years of life.  But I couldn't explain that to her because how do you tell your first-born you're both mourning the loss of baby-soft knees and listening to the stories to be told by that ever-changing skin?

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Wrapped under a gauzey tent that hangs above her bed, cocooned in a swath of pink blankets, she asked to hear the story of when she was born. We were just to the part where we'd left her Grandma and Grandpa's house and rolled down our windows to breath in the last moments of Just Us as we drove home when I spied Rohan, listening in from the doorway. She invited him in and then it was the three of us. Minnie Mouse played the part of Luca, hidden below my shirt. Giggles erupted from both kids when I told them how I'd been unable to sleep, so full of excitement and all, so I'd bathed and done my toenails and then watched movies and slept on the couch all night only waking here and there to aknowledge the early cramps of labor.

Her eyes grew huge when I remembered all the people who came to meet her and how we all just stared into this tiny, beautiful face and these impossibly huge blue eyes and fell madly, swiftly in love.

"It hurt when I was born, right mommy?"
"It did. But I don't really remember it hurting. I just remember being so happy."
"So when you have a baby, it hurts? And then the baby is born and love comes in and fills all the spaces that hurt? And instead of being full of hurt, you're all full up of love?"
"Yes, I think that's about right."
"So love is soft like your belly?"
"I guess that must be true."

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"You're not a baby anymore, Luca. But you will always, always be my first baby and I'll always love you more than you could ever know."
"Always?"
"Absolutely."
"Wow."
"Absolutely."

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Five years ago yesterday, I was anxiously working through labor, pumped with adrenaline and wonder. Waiting to meet her.

Five years ago this morning, at 12:10 a.m., she came earthside and I felt the world collide around me. Waiting to know her.

Five years ago tonight, I was exhausted and elated and stayed awake despite the pleas of nurse just to watch her sleep. Waiting to find the mom in me.

Five years, filled with so very much love and soul-expanding lessons in being humble and human and greater than I knew I could be for her. For both of them. For us.

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She is 5, she is mine.

 

1 comment:

GirlX said...

You know, when I read your posts I usually don't comment because I sit here and cry. I have all these feelings like happiness for your kids, and sadness that my childhood wasn't like this (at all). I sometimes wish I were younger, so I could learn from someone like you how to be a good and proper parent. I never gave birth because I was afraid of raising my kids the way I was raised. I am having a particularly emotional evening, and this really hit me tonight. Thanks for sharing the good moments of parenthood, because it warms my soul more than you know.

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