There is a willow tree two yards away and I can see it through my back door from my corner of the couch. It just turned green three days ago. Until then it was just the skeleton. Maybe that’s another way that God tries to tell us what we cannot know — life continues. Not abstractly or through simple offspring, but at the source, in the same ground, with the same exact branches and with more to come — it continues.
Eva still nurses to sleep most of the time, her observant eyes start to droop and like a tiny kitten she roots for comfort and a full tummy. She is magnificent, this little girl full of curiosity and delight at the world. Her soft little gums are swollen with more teeth coming through and her little mind is bright and capable and persistent. She is growing so so quickly. It is wild and exciting. But sometimes she still gets sleepy and she is newborn again. Her instincts still lead her to cuddles and rocking and skin to skin contact. I relish it. I know how fast this goes.
Mary Oliver would give Eva words but I wont. The child is a series of squeals of excitement, loud voice practice to be included in the conversation, staccato shouts like an angry mockingbird when she is upset, a constant and long cry of rebellion when sleep tries to take her unexpectedly. She is totally herself already. She laughs at herself in the mirror — more if she sees me or dada. When I carry her close to my chest, she looks up in surprise to see my face — she loves to smile back.
These days are not hard. I tell people they are because they are supposed to be, but I’m changing that. They are heavy, yes. They are challenging sometimes. They are sanctifying. This is a learning curve. But do not be mistaken when you look into my sleepy eyes. Do not think that I am complaining when I tell you we are sleep training/ that my schedule is slower/ that I don’t get out much. I would give all of my other days to live in these with Eva and Lane. I am so happy to be where I am.
Don’t think for a second that I am taking these delicious, sticky, laundry filled days for granted.
It is Tuesday and I am walking around the house vaguely looking for something with Eva August on my hip. She is taking in the world, eyes wide, not complaining as we wander through the kitchen for a fourth time. Finally, I find the coffee I forgot I was looking for and lean in to look at Eva. Her face has changed, its rounder and somehow looks so much like her dad. She catches my smile and smiles back. I put down my coffee and take her to our bed.
She is all in white, cheeks pink, eyes sharp blue and gleaming. I swing her up in the air and pretend to drop her on the bed. My hands never leaving her back and neck. She is delighted by the almost-fall and starts to laugh. I make a serious face at her and she makes one back. I smile and her face lights up in return. I use the mattress to help her feel like she’s jumping and she melts into a mess of giggles. She is flying — white romper against white bed-cloth and rose skin.
She is perfect and I want to always live in this moment.
My daughter laughs now. Silly giggles that come out more like a delighted growl, like she’s pranking me, like she’s in on the joke. Every time she does it, she claims the room and then it bubbles over in response to her brand new reaction. Like the world has never heard anything like it.
The days have been full and busy and change-filled. So much so that my daughter has not spent a whole month in one state in all of her life. She is an explorer and one who takes it gracefully.
in my whole life I have never felt as small as I do now. Holding her — the enormous gift and weight all bound up into 12 pounds of trust, that I will show up if she needs anything. That I will find what is wrong and fix it. That I could do anything without a word of language.
And somehow I do, I will, I can. But like — in discovering impossible remedies like speaking with my voice several octaves too high, or bringing her little mouth to it’s only source of food, or by lifting her up and then down again — saying so with every motion. Giving her the words to every action so she learns them. Minuscule tasks, my whole life.
Then she laughs out of nowhere like the sun breaking through a gloriously overcast day. The kind of overcast that makes you feel safe. The kind of sun that makes you trust joy.
I am small and my life is increasingly placid and simple and yes, I love it.
Eva did the best thing last night.
As we practiced neck strength, her standing on my legs like a prairie dog supported by my hands, she carefully observed the contrast of the bookshelf to the wall and the photos hanging framed behind me. Suddenly, her eyes found mine and her face broke into a smile as she made excited noises. I was a surprise and (for the first clear time) a recognized friend.
Every day is new here. I am a puddle.