Daryl and I were out for dinner last night, and at the table next to us was a couple with a baby daughter; they told me she's eleven months old, and I fawned before admitting I've a five-year-old at home who grew to the size she currently is in about as much time as it took me to blink in wonderment twice. With nearly a year under their own belts, these two parents understood.
I've said this before: the days are long, the nights are even longer, but the years seem to fly by at some logic-defying warp speed. But how?
I can't make sense of it.
We're listening to Tom Waits as I type this. That sweet girl of mine hears his raspy voice singing over the music, and says, "What is this?" I look over at her, and she's motioning the playing of an accordion, which she can hear on the record that's spinning steadily.
"It's an accordion," I tell her.
"An accordion," she repeats. Then, a moment later, "An o-ccordion?"
"No," I correct her; a-ccordion, with an A. She nods, repeats it, and logs it in her brain's Rolodex.
I'll never stop marveling at her existence; at the miracle of such a thing, at her bright beauty and her incredible brain. She's intentional, methodical and steadfast, wild and relentless though she is all the same. She argues with me on the proper pronunciation of "sorry" (she, a Minnesotan, and I, a Canadian wholly unwilling to relinquish my accent. I AM NOT SOARY.) She rides a bike, she knows how to read, and she woke up the other morning with a Master's degree in shoelace-tying.
And all the while I got so caught up in sweeping up tortilla chip crumbs and in folding a hundred pairs of tiny socks that I forgot to scoop her up into my arms and tickle her until she bursts while I command her to STAY TINY, SWEET CHILD! STAY TINY. As if that's all it would've taken.
It's been a wonder and a pure joy watching this person grow. I know you know this. But if I had a hundred thousand dollars for every time I've been bowled over by the love that pours out of me and into her, I still wouldn't have what it'd take to pay the world's foremost time travel engineer to create a machine that zaps me back to the beginning of it all. I just can't seem to get the satiation I so crave: a chance to relive this love over and over again, in perpetuity.
She turned five years old last Saturday, but thanks to a relentless fever and what turned out to be a severe ear infection, we had to postpone the festivities until today. She's elated to eat cake and bounce off the walls with her friends and, oh, I don't know, watch Boss Baby four times in a row while the grownups take a welcome reprieve from parenting? I think that's how it works, anyhow.
Today we celebrate, and revel I will in the magic mystery that brought this person into my life: my Margot, my sweet baby James.
Little one, I love you madly.