The noise is thunderous, definitely a Mach 3. And sure enough, I round the corner to see the three of you playing some complex game involving poofing dragons and undoing ancient spells. To be fair, I think it is only complex in Super Preschooler's mind; the rest of you appear to be doing figure 8s through the whole house, clad in an assortment of dress-up clothes that are hanging on to your whirling bodies with hope. You are keeping up with your brothers; face vacillating between exhilarating joy and annoyance, as your hair keeps falling in your face. You blow it out of your eyes with adorable concentration, but I think you are fighting a losing battle against gravity and the tiara that is slipping toward your eyebrows. Everything seems a little too big today; over-sized crown, shirts sleeves flopping over your hands, Madi Gras beads that start around your neck but keep getting stuck under your knees, pant legs dragging well past your shoes. Well, they would, but you appear to have lost your shoes. You are wearing, well, it might be better to say that a cape is wearing you. A cape that Super P. plopped on you that reminds me of this picture I once saw of Princess Diana's veil; yours doesn't make a straight line up St. Paul's Cathedral, but arches up and over the coffee table, next to some legos, and over a battlefield of fallen action figures. It is also covered in Cheerios and cat hair. You still look as resplendent as any princess.
I stop to watch you all play. The boys rumble by, "Hi Moms" shouted and forgotten. Since you are only a year (today), I guess I am not so old hat. As you round the corner from the kitchen and stop to pull yourself up on the door frame, you catch sight of me and stop as if frozen. Then, as powerful as any glacier, a slow smile blooms across your face and, holding out both dimpled baby hands and falling backwards in your eagerness for me, you shout "Mama!" Your eyes don't leave mine as I rush to you and pull you up; they are sparkling with sass and sincerity. I crouch next to you and you dive into my arms, nearly knocking me over in your rush to whisper little secrets into my neck. Secrets they will stay; your rapid babble is way over my head. You snuggle me quickly, and then you are gone again, crawling after your brothers at a speed that defies some scientific law, I am sure of it.
We do this most of the morning. Each of you rounds the corner as befits your unique spirit. Super Preschooler dances round, blows me a kiss, and hurries past to poof some dragons lurking on the couch. Super Toddler barrels nearly through, clipping the corner every time. Then he shoots it with his laser gun for its impertinence, before climbing on top of the couch to join the rebel dragons in their fight for independence. You, my baby, my little one, my youngest. You crawl up to the corner and pat it softly; you hang onto that corner like a tiny WC Fields trying to get home from the bar. As you rock up on your feet, I imagine that I will see that grin once again on some far off day; it is blissful and slightly crooked in its guilelessness. You see me, and it is like you are seeing me for the first time, every time. The love in your face makes my chest tighten in awe. Then, you take the ultimate leap of faith and let go of the wall. You reach your hands toward me, at first just to wave. Rapid little waves in time with your giggles. Then, they start to reach, an ache in them that I can feel from here. Or maybe it is my own ache I feel. Little fingers, so small and perfect, vibrating in their urgency to touch mine. I acquiesce, and cover them with my rough ones, dry and already feeling the winter's wrath. You don't care. You cling to me as you attempt a few steps, get bored, and launch into my arms for an all too brief cuddle. Then, just like that, you are gone again.
The last time, well, the time before Super Preschooler decides that the dragons are defeated and ready to watch Timmy Time with him, you turn around and look at me before your departure into the kitchen. You smile, which my moody mind makes sad, and then you lift your little hands toward me and wave. A good-bye wave this time. The tightening in my chest intensifies and I can't stop the tears. You look exactly the same, but yet, something is totally different about you. The clothes still don't fit, but they are a little less big; I guess your first year just hit. The lessons and wisdom of the past 365 days just settled into your soul, and even your hands look different. Less baby, just slightly lengthened, a tad more capable. Hands that will one day wave good-bye to me from the driver's side window of an overflowing hand-me-down Camry. And I will wave back, while holding myself back from rushing after you to grab those hands and kiss them one more time. Counting those fingers as if casting a spell that will keep all ten safe and whole. But I won't and I don't. I merely smile and wave right back, as I will some bittersweet morning all too soon; a beautiful morning that I will have to admire through my tears. As I do today.
I love you-
Wow. Ummm...thank you for that cheerful take on Super Baby's birthday, Awkward Mom. Puts me right in the mood for cake. Speaking of cake!
Awkward Dad bought a Whole Foods cake, no one seems to know why.
Needless to say, we had no money for gifts as a result.
Waiting is hard!
Why can't you adults just put the lighter in the same place every time,
that way you would have it on hand at pivotal moments.
Super Baby was less than impressed; she is really more of a meat fan.
Super Preschooler more than made up for her lack of dessert love.
Even if you don't love dessert, doesn't matter.
The sugar will affect you exactly the same as every other child in creation.