Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Sugar and Spice

Poor little Charlotte has had a rough day.

I awoke with a start at 2:38 am last night, to the sounds of her throwing up in her crib. Poor baby. All in her hair and blankie and that's just so confusing to a baby, you know? She wasn't feverish, but afterwards, as I curled on the couch with her and several towels, waiting to see if it would happen again, she was all pale and clammy and stare-y and... quiet. Which is weird for her.

She is so seldom calm and silent, that I, well, I enjoyed those moments stretched out in the dim light from the open bathroom door. We just looked at each other. Still. Looking. Then she reached out and slowly touched my nose, and then her nose, my mouth, her mouth, my eye, her eye.

The sweet seriousness of her gestures establishing our similarities almost made me cry.

It made me wonder if she is as bewildered by our happening to wind up mother and daughter as I am sometimes. I swear, quite often I look at her and it's as if I'm seeing her face for the first time. She looks absolutely nothing like me, or anyone in my family, or even like I imagined she might look, before she was born. She's about as far from the shy, serene, cello-playing girl Andy and I predicted as it's possible to be. Her face is so changeable, as though her outward appearance actually fluctuates according to her mood: merry, infuriated, sly, curious, delighted...

She is still such a mystery to me. I see her copying my gestures, but she is so much her own person that it's almost... intimidating? What am I to do with this person who is so new to me? So different. Perhaps it's that she's a girl, and girls are new to me?

Today Lulu managed to pass by the basement door during the one interval in which it was accidentally left open, and I heard her fall. I heard her little pink and silver sneakers squeaking on the wooden stairs, and I heard the rustle and bump of her body careening towards the cement floor.

You cannot imagine how instantaneously I teleported down those stairs to see her sprawled in a heap at the bottom, fearful of touching her in case something very very bad had happened and little bones were broken. Perhaps, though, you can imagine my heightened vision in the dark, and the slow care with which I gathered her up and held her sobbing head on my shoulder as I made my way up into the bright light of the kitchen. You can hear my heartbeat, as I heard it, faster and louder than her sobs. You feel my rushing relief as I realize that she is unharmed, and the calm I will into her as I rock her tears away.

This, I can do.

She may be a foreign little alien of joy and destruction, twinkling dimples and pigtails as she strews the contents of the bathroom trashcan across the living room, but I can find her in the dark and I can carry her into the light and cherish the moments of communion she allows me before she heads off for another adventure.

Precious little peewee. Stranger. Love. What am I going to do with you?

8 Comments:

Anonymous roo said...

What a beautiful post, Grudge Girl!

I'm so sorry LuLu had an accident, both for her and for you. I'm glad she's okay.

You're lucky to have each other.

8:47 PM  
Blogger Tracy Lynn said...

Poor sweet Lottie Lulu. Give her a smooch from me.
And she gets her adventuring questing spirit from YOU, dear girl. As well as the mischievous stuff. ;p

5:14 AM  
Anonymous Erica said...

Clearly, your only choice is to eat her whole.

Poor kitten -- that's a rough day. Sounds like you both need some quiet snuggle time.

12:07 PM  
Anonymous ozma said...

Scary! The fall.

I love this post so much.

I know what it's like to have a daughter who doesn't look like you but it's so funny because sometimes when I look in her eyes it's like I've known her forever. Except she never does what I say and is so much her own person that I do know just what you mean.

11:33 PM  
Blogger yucaree said...

is charlotte feeling better? i hope so; poor thing.

this post totally made me sigh. can't describe it -- it was just so pretty and heartfelt and honest. you are quite the mother and writer, GG!

9:24 AM  
Anonymous Beverlee said...

Beautiful! You'll just keep on loving her like you clearly do - that's waht you'll do.

5:44 PM  
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