I’m having a little trouble with this whole double digit thing. How can you already be ten-months-old? As your first birthday rapidly approaches, I find myself slightly shell shocked, sitting with you asleep in my arms and trying desperately to figure out how you got so big. Already your body drapes across my lap when nursing, no longer the delicate little curl I one gathered into my arms; already you are taking bold chances towards walking and delighting yourself and you sister as you learn how to play. Last night I heard Lily ask your Dad, “What’s Anya doing, Dad?” and we both turned around to find you stuck in the middle of a step stool, belly draped across the step and head hanging down in the arch, reaching for a toy, determined to get it even if it meant landing on your noggin. You simply won’t slow down.
I’ve really been enjoying watching your discovery of the world and the way it moves around you. I can’t seem to tear my eyes from your face as you take in the frenetic movements of the ducks or the rush of the river or the bustle of the restaurant as it moves around you. You sink into the swirl of activity and analyze every bit of it and then turn to see what I think, asking your silent questions and smiling at my encouraging nods. Yes, it’s big and busy and noisy and silly and beautiful and stupid and strange and so many words you will learn as you grow. Some of it will forever be indescribable like the way your sister’s face can shift in such a subtle way that you shouldn’t know she’s thinking of something that scares her, even though you do. That gentle communication between sisters is building more and more every day and I feel so lucky and so jealous; conflicting emotions have just become the norm for me.
On Monday we went to the park and I didn’t want to put you down for fear you’d shovel sand into your mouth at breakneck speed. I finally gave up and set you with the other kids, giving you the opportunity to explore. You didn’t try to eat the sand once and that? That actually made me proud. You crawled around with a shovel in each hand, laughing and shrieking and waving your arms around with such joy, you made me laugh too. I love that you are so comfortable in your own skin and have the freedom to feel each emotion as it occurs. I don’t know when we learn to suppress or delay emotion but I sometimes wish I could just let it happen the way you and Lily do. It would be a mess, sure, but it would be honest. Sometimes I feel like the bit of honesty you and Lily offer throughout the day is the gift that keeps me sane when the news screams of all the crazy shit that won’t stop happening. I’m afraid that without you girls, I could get very jaded, very fast.
But there you sit, on the verge of finding your feet and taking exploration to a whole new level. By this time next month, I’ll likely be tearing my hair out at the park, chasing you and your sister in opposite directions. You follow her around as much as possible now, but I think you’re going to be running off after your own rainbows before I can say, “whoa there”. And that’s OK, kid. Do your own thing, even if it makes me a little crazy. After all, it’s not really about me (despite what I may lead you to believe).
And hey, if you want to eat the sand, just do it while Daddy’s watching you, OK? He’s much less excitable.