Saturday, February 14, 2009


Dear Lizzie,

I am typing this as you lay sleeping in the bed we share, an arms length away. The noise you make as you sleep—a sort of breathy sigh—serves as a metronome for my fingers against this keyboard.

One year ago, I was cradling you in my arms. Vernix still caught in the creases of your skin, you were here—sharing the same air as me—and yet I sensed you were still of some place else too.

One year ago, your lips were no bigger than a thimble. You opened your mouth to drink; we became dependent again.

One year ago, I wept at your red hair, your blue eyes, the sudden and sharp beauty that is a mother and a daughter.

One year ago, I drank chocolate milkshakes like water, giddy with birth and tied to that moment when time stands not still, but together. That moment we get when you pass from inside to out, from a shadowy stomach to life.

One year ago, my sweet Elizabeth, you were born.

Now I watch as you sleep. I think of you in your birthday dress and stripy tights, laughing in that way that causes your nose to scrunch and your head to fall back. I think of your fingers, the pudgy creases now caked not with birth but white frosting. And your arrival seems so distant, a memory of a you that no longer exists.

Today you walked around the coffee table, babbling “mamamamam, baaaaa, pu-pu-pu,” with serious vigor, as if relaying vital information about the state of foreign affairs. Your brothers came into the room and you squealed with delight, immediately crawling to their feet, vying for attention.

Eventually, you turned to me, arms flung up in a familiar, sudden desperation. You’ve realized you were without me and I pull you close and catch your almost cry in the back of my own throat. We rock together. You nurse, your hand resting on my chin. Your eyes looking into mine, a mirror image.

Now I sit and watch you sleep. I feel the change that is coming, the emergence of mind and spirit and independence that comes with toddler years. I see the quiet days we spent together, swaddled and small, fading into that place of sweet memories.

You are becoming your own person, and I celebrate that—I celebrate you.

Speaking of celebrating...Over at MyNorth this week, I'll be posting everyday about a snipit of winter worth, well, not going crazy from snow and silver skies and cold weather and....Ah, you know. February in general is not a fantastic month, and where I live it can be grounds for getting committed. So, I will be reminding myself-- and hopefully all of you-- why I won't go, um, postal before spring hits. The first required activity for surviving February is here. And Day Two is right here. Please zip over. And Check back there everyday until February 21. By the way, They (as in the suits in charge of the magazine and website) are letting some strange blogs slip through as their community grows, so if I want to keep getting paid the big bucks-- okay, peanuts-- I need your help...visit. read. say something (perferably nice).

xoxo Happy Valentines Day!


Sarah said...

Beautiful, Kate. Thank you.

Sus said...

Does your hospital have chocolate milkshakes? Mine has fake chocolate pudding, which I adore and remember inordinately fondly.

At least toddlerhood will still have the stripy tights. We can cry together when our girls grow out of stripy tights. Then you and I can start wearing them.

PS. The word verification I got is "facque" - as if it is a facque that our children grow older. A fact, but not really.

Woman in a Window said...

That sweet and close first year. Ah.

Damselfly said...

Happy birthday to your little sweetie!

Elissa said...

oh! happiest of birthdays to your little one! what a beautiful post. my babe is coming up on TWO already! oh, hooray for birthdays and stripy tights!

Astarte said...

This makes me ache for my own babies. I miss the cuddly sweetness, and the closeness. Sigh.

Dad said...

Ah kate, brings back memories from the dads point of view. I remember when I said many of the same things about another red head. The times I read to you even then and loved to rock you to sleep. Thanks for bringing them back. Dad

Maria Rose said...

I just stumbled upon your blog and this entry was just so very beautiful. You brought tears to my eyes.