This girl of mine is seeming older and wiser to me at rapidly increasing rates over the last while. Her limbs are growing and stretching, and she's somehow even surpassing a couple of her peers in height. This, frankly, feels like some sort of biological impossibility seeing as how aside from one 6'4" uncle, most of her biological family members range in height from roughly two to four feet tall, I swear. (Well, I may be a bit off on those measurements, but really — my own mother is still waiting patiently to hit 5'.) Margot has got my body type to a tee — whoever designed us opted for all torso, while our little eight-inch legs were clearly an afterthought. I didn't think she'd ever stop looking like the little peanut who's always fallen into the 30th percentile for height and weight.
But I digress.
She's got her usual sharp curiosity, but her questions and statements are accompanied more often now by these incredible and oftentimes attitudinal facial expressions that I can't handle; I have to stifle great belly laughs for fear of making her think I'm laughing at her and not, rather, as a reaction to my utterly overwhelming feelings of incredulity over who this little person is becoming. She makes me laugh. She uses her shoulders and flips her wrists when she's exploring some topic she doesn't understand. She stands with her legs apart and her hands firmly on her hips when she asserts herself. She speaks in caps lock when she draws lines in the sand. She's firm, she's smart and she's self-assured.
Daryl and I got in an argument at the park yesterday evening, while Margot swung wildly in the same little baby swing she's been squeezing her growing body into since before she knew how to walk. Or, honestly, it wasn't an argument so much as it was an instance of me wishing for a flock of geese to fly overhead and cover his t-shirt in warm shit in an act of some cosmic and karmic retribution for him calling me out on my own shit, which was, in this situation, having to do with the amount of time I spend with my face buried in my phone when I'm in the presence of our girl.
I resented that he told me to get off my phone and be present. I hate scrolling around on my phone when she's around, but I know I do it. I'm guilty. But when he said it, I was lying on my back in a sea of wood chips trying to capture the perfect shot of our girl swinging up into outer space while the setting sun hit her hair just right, and while her flailing limbs came about three inches away from hitting me in the back of the head. I was present. I was engaged. Yes, my face was in my phone. Yes. But I was trying to capture this one fleeting moment in our lives — this one, out of every other single one — each of which I try with equal fervor to snag and stuff in a box for safe keeping until long after I'm gone.
I only get one go-round at this. That's the heartache behind secondary infertility and behind raising an only-child; but it is, conversely, the driving force behind the intensity with which I document everything. It is why I fill my phone's storage with hundreds of photos and videos in the span of a week or two. It is why I have countless running tallies of all the funny, kind, sweet and otherwise noteworthy things Margot says over the course of any given day. My phone houses so much of what we experience when we're nose-to-nose, present in love, snuggles, tickles and tangled limbs, for better or for worse.
She's growing; she's changing. I'm aware. I'm with her, I'm watching her, I'm laughing with her and over her, ever in pure wonder. The act of growing up, I think, doesn't happen so much at a dizzying rate as it does in such an intensely constant state. It's not that time is going by particularly quickly; it's that we're noticing change after change and there's no respite between one and the next. These people we raise barrel through developments, milestones and the like, and we watch in wonder while we so distinctly feel the deep rush of change swoop through and around us. We can't stop it. I want that power, if only for brief moments every now and again; I won't ever have it, though; so, whether it's the right thing or the best thing, I'm documenting it all.
I can't help it.
Lanky limbs, outer space and summer days; what wonder it is to be alive with her.