I remember waking up at the crack of dawn on March 10, 2003, two hours before I was induced the day after her due date, to write her a long letter that I can't wait to show her someday. I can't wait to crack into it myself, I can't even remember what it said.
I remember waking her up at 4am to nurse, watching her eyes roll drunkenly back in her head as her sweet milky breath became heavy with sleep, her starfish hands, attached to her arms by rubber band wrists (I still mourn those wrists), clutching my finger. This was the highlight of my day, before I showered, studied for an hour for Step III medical licensing exam, got to work an hour early to do molecular research for a paper, then joining the cytology crew on my first rotation of the specialty that was to become my future area of expertise. I was continually astonished at all the time I wasted before I had a baby, never knowing the true meaning of efficiency.
I never imagined that I would already be receiving intentional dramatic eye rolls and statements like, "it is my body and I can choose to eat what I want," or "it is my present and I can do what I want (giving it away)." That girl knows herself at 6 better than I did at 16. I hope to help guide her through all her future self-confidence threatening experiences in junior high and high school and see her come across intact at the other end.
I also never thought that at age 5, she would be such a big help to me - getting John out of his uncontrollable bursts of three-year-old morning temper in 2 seconds after watching me struggle for 20 minutes. Sometimes I feel a sting of guilt as I realize she is trying to joke me out of a mood I didn't even realize I was in. Her capability and sense of self dazzle me.
Tonight as we were reading book and singing song -- Ike and I shuffle back and forth in what tends to drag out into an hour and a half long bedtime routine -- she was playful, as I was trying to rush through in order to get to my afore-mentioned projects. Eventually, she sucked me into a silly-face making game.
"C'mon mom, just do it. One more time. Do this."
She pulled her mouth down in a frown and rolled her eyes in the back of her head like a zombie. I reluctantly mirrored her, and she collapsed into a fit of giggles, with a bright white smile and slitted eyes - her eyelashes so long they remind me of caterpillars when she laughs. Her skin is golden. She's my golden girl. No, she's her own golden girl.
Happy Birthday, C.