The air is cool this morning, this summer has been oppressively hot. It feels like fall, and do you remember when this was our family? This was us, once. There was no home in the South Hills, no preschool friends or play dates. We didn't live in museums, scan cards attached to my keys. There was no flat screen, no hammock in the yard. Baby Louise wasn't real, yet. We had no way of dreaming her. We were a tiny family in a world full of things to uncover, and we worked our hardest to flip over every stone. It was work, too.
Scouty's first autumn:
When I look at these pictures, I remember my husband as a boy, falling asleep on the floor next to the bassinet.
I remember being shocked by Scout's birth, incapacitated by the c-section. I was unable to walk, foggy headed and in so much pain.
I was a child suddenly, and this wasn't how it was supposed to be. Having a baby was supposed to make me an adult, suddenly. I was supposed to be Mom. Instead, I found myself in a deluge of memories from my own childhood, sticky fingered as I worked through the issues of my past. It never mattered before that my father didn't love me. Looking into the face of my new daughter, it hit me how very wrong he was to not know me. He had everything, because he had children. We would have loved him and lifted him up on our fat little hands to bathe himself clean in the sky. Instead, he made us feel blackness behind the slippery surface of our eyes. He made us feel like the light in attic was a broken bulb.
How I loved you, little one! I loved you and you turned me back into a child. All that time I spent building retainers around me, a grown up junky girl with ropes of matted hair spilling down her back and dark eyes. Suddenly, I understood everything. My father didn't love me, and I loved you with a clarity and a purpose so big and perfect that it blocked out the sun. I loved you for all the ways I'd been forgotten, and in all the ways you deserved.
You were such a tiny thing, and such a gigantic force that you shook the world and set every fiber of my existence to humming with an electric, palpable love.
You were marvelous, eye-opening and terrifying. Daddy was my boyfriend and we were only kids. We knocked things over when you cried. We jumped from the couch, spilling our drinks, bumping into one another, "Go to her, she's crying! Go, go, go!" You almost killed us with your baby-ness. Every sound you made in the night, I was birthed into a pink, raw alertness.
And now, we're all grown up and nestled softly into a life. A real, adult life where we've paid off our vehicles and I sneak around in the early hours of the morning for a cup of a tea. Louise is our baby, and she takes a class at the library where she claps her hands with all the other babies to Polly Wolly Doodle all the day. I think it's safe to say that we made it. These babies aren't going to kill us, after all.
It feels like fall is coming, this morning. I'm looking forward to the farm and pumpkin patches, to apple cider from a press. Mostly, I'm looking forward with a glass shard in my heart, because some day, our life now will be like these old pictures. I'll be even more grey and I'll look back through frozen frames from today and smile about how young I was, and over how very much I didn't know.
Something I do know, though, is that, when I look back on today... on preschool and wool hats and a wagon in the leaves, I'll be able to see how much I love you. It will always saturate everything and warm my memories like sunlight.
I love you, I love you, I love you.