When I read what I wrote one year ago on my child’s first birthday I nod my head in agreement to the words I have no recollection of writing. I imagine I wrote those words just like I wrote these, far from home in the dark after my little lady was snuggled up in bed. When the din of the day dies down I can suddenly, occasionally, collect my thoughts. The only chance I get during the hands-on days of an at-home expat mother to actually miss my child.
Another year blew by with barely enough time to take a breath and I still feel in awe of the entire experience of parenting. Hardly a moment to ponder the conflicted way I feel about how motherhood can be smothering and yet thinking of life without her is suffocating. So many things to think about and philosophize, but the reality is that I spend my days up to my elbows in play dough walking at a toddler’s pace around our neighborhood.
The last year I’ve watched my daughter go from walking to running, from talking to communicating, from happy to happier. She is alive in a way I can’t even pretend to aspire to, and I use her as an inspiration to do that seemingly impossible deed of living in the now.
As she grows up, becomes a kid more than a baby, my job is a little less hands-on. I don’t have her on my hip or in my arms all day. She explores on her own and I move about the house, write my book, make a phone call. I don’t have to spend harried minutes trying to interpret the cries of a baby, instead I spend mere moments negotiating the whines of a small child. This little bit of distance from my girl in our day-to-day lives sometimes gives me the illusion that she doesn’t need or want me in the way she used to, but as always the reality of parenting is not so simple.
I have to do the dishes.
“Mama sit on the floor right here. Play puzzle with Vesper.” Dishes can wait.
I want to write a blog post.
“I in Vesper room! Mama come my room too!” Nothing I’ve ever written was as important as answering that call.
I try to do anything at all.
“Mama dance with Vesper! Mama hold my hands!” I’ve made a pact to myself: any time this child or any other asks me to dance, I will.
Who can say no to that kind of love? Of life. Of living. Of dancing.
Two years on and all the humbling I spoke of in last year’s post goes on. I am humbled every. single. day. All the love I wrote about continues to grow even when you think you’ve reached emotional capacity. I love this baby girl so. damn. hard. But everything comes as less of a surprise. I don’t know what’s coming or what I’m doing any more than I did last year, but I’m increasingly comfortable with all that uncertainty.
Two years on and I’m more comfortable in our roles as mother and daughter. I’m transitioning into the role of woman with a child instead of a woman with a baby. And yet, no matter how many words she learns or how tall she grows, I still see her there. My baby. My tiny baby.
Two years on. My love, my love, my darling love.