Last night I was making dinner when I looked over my shoulder and thought to myself, “Who is that little girl stomping through the kitchen in my shoes?”
I wasn’t so much questioning her identity as I was marveling at her very existence. In that moment, as I diced an onion for the horseradish pasta salad I was craving, the October air was abnormally warm in its gentle push through the windows, and the waning daylight was natural and calm. It wasn’t unlike other occasions over the past thirty years when I felt relaxed and unattached to time. The difference between last night and the rest of my life was the girl with tiny feet passing through my periphery in very, very big shoes.
A year ago*, she was just learning to walk . A year before that, she mostly laid there, sleeping, slurping, burping and pooping. Twelve months prior, I had just discovered that The Partner and I would be having a baby. My notions about what it meant to be a parent were so hazy as to be completely opaque. I had no idea that there would be…
A little girl, at home in my kitchen, at home in my shoes. A girl who got none of my looks except my big forehead and my thin hair. A girl with her own ideas, fears, taste and motivation. Three years ago, I couldn’t have known how the setting sun in a dim room would spotlight this relative newcomer on her halting trip across the tile, and how she’d stop in the middle and look at me from a perch made much higher by my stacked heels.
“Hug, mom,” she called out, her arms extended, beseeching both me and balance.
I laid down my utensils on the cutting board and made my way over to her. I kneeled down, wrapping my arms around her mid-section. She leaned into the hug. Her hands rested on my shoulder blades.
“I love you,” I said.
“I love you, mom.”
*It was exactly one year ago. To the day. I just realized that now as I copied the link to my blog post about her first steps and saw the date. Isn’t it funny how the subconscious can push through the crowded calendar of daily living and help keep priorities in check?