Sunday, July 19, 2009

Our Morning Child.

Last night I fell asleep with my hand resting on a lullaby playing chimp. Ever since Alan passed away I haven't been able to leave his side of the bed unoccupied. For months it held a box of Kleenex and served as a backdrop for photos, and shortly after Lily was born, it became inhabited by my pregnancy body pillow - which now acts as a barrier on the edge of the bed. And now, Alan's side is shared with chimp, polka dot pink pony, a tiara toting purple elephant, water filled keys and a blankie with a green frog coming out of it. In the morning, Lily joins the crowd after her 6:15 a.m. morning drink and she brings his side alive again. She starts by lying on her back, frog in mouth, and begins her morning chants, muffled but with great energy and volume. After awhile, she sheds the blankie and excitedly borderline hyperventilates while staring at the ceiling fan. She squeals with early morning delight and often takes in a long dragging glottal breath before feeling around for her next toy. I watch, smiling, but try to refrain from conversation, in hopes my quiet presence will remind her that there is more sleep to be had. On occasion I help reposition her friends or assist her with getting the key into her mouth to chew but other than that she's on her own. After 40 minutes, she winds down and it's then that she begins her rolls toward me. One full flip and then a half roll so that she lands on her side, against me so we can spoon. It's moments like these that take my breath away because her character has begun to really show. She has intentions. She interacts. She loves. Even when we spoon she turns to look up at me and when she's on her tummy right next to me, she tosses her head up and back against my chest to connect with me. She leans into me, just to be sure I'm there.
And as chatty as Lily is at home, she can be equally quiet in public settings. She is the consummate observer - Lily does interact with others, she shares smiles and touches, but when surrounded by other babes she likes to watch. She hangs onto their every move and when there's a teacher in the room whether it's yoga or music, she's immediately on her stomach, watching their actions intently. At time's I wonder if I'm projecting Alan's traits on her but just recently her music teacher came over to her after class and quietly commented how alert and curious she is with everything - and then sweetly said "she's so self-contained". The description made my heart skip a beat, Alan's presence flooding my thoughts - she had nailed it. Lily is self-contained, just as her dad was. And at four and a half months Alan can be seen within her. So when I watch her during our mornings together, I marvel at how she embraces all that is new to her and am in awe of how miraculous life is. And when elements of Alan appear in her being, it warms my heart to know that there are already ways in which she'll know her dad, and understand him more than anyone else who ever knew and loved him ever did.

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