Monday, June 30, 2014

A loose tooth

My first baby showed me her first loose tooth today. I thought she was delusional. Then I thought it was wishful thinking (she's been desperately hoping for one ever since her best friend lost a tooth). Then I thought she was teasing me. Then I realized SHE HAD A LOOSE TOOTH. Then I hoped I was delusional (this. just. cannot. be.) But I felt it. I saw it. Sal's words from One Morning in Maine echoed in my ears: "You could even see it wiggle." I searched desperately for a way out. A way BACK. How did we get here already? I stood in the hallway for multiple seconds, staring incredulously. Everyone always tells you they grow up. Kids, that is. But honestly, I thought they were mistaken. Maybe their kids grew up. But what did they really know about mine? You know, besides whatever Facebook told them?

I called my baby's daddy. He already knew. He laughed. How could he laugh as our daughter surely and steadily slipped from our grasp? The full realization of her separateness suddenly sunk into the pit of my stomach. I fought back tears. I suppose I knew in theory that she was born with her own soul. I just hadn't experienced all hers and mine before. Not even when she started school. Not even when she developed her own social circle. Her own friends. Her own life that I simply had no idea about. For whatever reason, the universe chose this moment--this wiggly-toothed tiny moment--to shove that space at me.

Small consolation came at the end of the day.
"What was the best part of your day?" I asked her.

"My loose tooth!" She unhesitatingly declared.

"What was the hardest part of your day?"

"Waiting to tell you that I had a loose tooth."

"Really?" I choked, incredulous yet again. For now, for today, I was her first thought: I can't wait to tell Mommy.

I'll take it. I'll take everything this confident, exuberant, glowing, GROWING five-year-old throws at me. And I'll do my best to slow down and savor every bit of it. Forget you, miserable life-sucking to-do lists. I'm making a new list. One list. It goes like this:

1. Samaya
2. Violet
3. Isaiah