My tiny daughter has a strange bruise on her body. Not strange as in it looks like an image of the Virgin Mary having pie with Superman; strange as in it exists. I have no idea where it came from and it makes the mama bear in me want to scoop her up in my arms, pad her with extra dense foam and never let her go out in the world where she could get hurt.
I have several theories as to the origin of the bruise, one of which involves a curly haired toddler, but the reality of the matter is that I will never know. How did this happen? I keep asking myself. How is it that she was hurt and I didn’t see it happen? Did I see it happen and simply not realize that it would leave a mark? Did I actually do it? Did I accidentally hurt my tiny girl without even knowing it? I know that she will have countless bruises in her life, but the first big one always makes you a little dizzy with guilt and wonder.
Meanwhile, my toddler has bruises all over from rolling around with the dog, running through sprinklers, trying to fly, etc. Those I stopped obsession over ages ago. But there was a time where I puzzled over each one, trying to decide what it looked like, where it came from, and most importantly, upon whom I was going to have to exact my revenge. Now she just looks like your average two year old.
It’s kinda sad really, how our perception of the same event can change as our children grow. How, in their infancy, every inch of their body is a story, a question or a concern. And how, as they grow and laugh and rough house with you on the floor, you simply take their knocks for what they are. Healthy? Absolutely. And yet, it somehow makes me sad in a nostalgic kind of way. Anya will likely be my last newborn, my last infant, my last teething child, my last everything. There’s a part of me that wants to always eat her up with my eyes and always puzzle out a bruise.
For now I will go lay on the floor next to my infant, close my eyes, run my hands lightly over her body to make her squirm in delight and I will smile as I loose myself this moment.