Every year, during the first week of August, my thoughts turn to golden sunsets, humid cornfields along two lane highways and the little motor lodge, room 19. I celebrate the sweetest notion I ever had. I remember the day I took two pregnancy tests, both negative. That evening, I passed on the cocktail at the German restaurant in southern Indiana and when I got back to the motel, phoned and emailed those closest to me to give them the news. It was nothing more than a very strong notion and I told them that I had no actual confirmation. I didn't need it, I knew. I have always trusted the few powerful "knowings" that have come into my life through the years. Not all have been good news or joyous but all ended well because I knew before I should of known.
This is August's, third summer. The tiny movements I caught her doing when she was only two months old, the ones I swore were really tiny nods to the beat of the music are now entire performances. She loves to dance and will turn on the radio then gracefully wave her arms while prancing about. Sometimes she click-clacks into the living room in her new, second hand tap shoes and sings whatever song is in her head while tapping away. All those sounds and babble have turned into words that communicate all sorts of thoughts. There are random streams of consciousness that amaze me and leave me tickled. She can be the most charming company on a road trip with her questions, made up songs and observations.
Three is a very sweet and spontaneous age, so far. My favorite sentence in the world is,"Mommy, I very love you." She values the little things I do for her,"Mommy makes special things for me." Other times she'll show off and say,"Mommy made this special, just for me!" The still tiny hands on my cheeks when she gives me a kiss. The way she calls me when she needs help, the way she calls me when she wants to show me what she can do all by herself, her new discoveries.
Every now and then there are requests that leave me feeling babyhood is lingering comfortably about. There is still nursing at bedtime. The last of the nursing. Every now and then she wants me to do the choo-choo train and feed her the last few bites of food. The last few... It hasn't gone fast, it's been steady but not too fast.
However, the other day, as I was cleaning the toilet, she came in saying, rather alarmed,"The years are coming again, they are coming again, Mommy." I stopped and focused on her face, her eyebrows raised, eyes bright. I asked,"What years are coming?" She then went on to tell me that Halloween, Christmas, New Year's and our birthdays were coming again. Just like that, it seemed so fast. She was not in the same bubble of time I was in. I sat on the floor, looked at her and asked her,
"Are you happy and glad and excited to celebrate everything?" She surprised me with ,"No, Mommy."
I felt confused that I felt a little relieved that she was somewhat melancholic and sad because she was somewhat melancholic. Shouldn't children be rushing through the days joyfully and happy about growing up without a care about what the passing time is? What was wrong with me that I just didn't cheer,"Yes! the days pass so fast, they will be here soon, it's so exciting!" Why did this stop me dead in my tracks?
I gave her a hug and then she asked me to put up my hand. So I did and she put her hand up to mine and said,"My hand is growing, see, Mommy, your hand is growing too." It made me smile big. It reminded me of that night, after the stories and prayers, the light turned off, my mother walking down the hall away from my bedroom, my hand on the wall next to my bed and me...saying out loud,"One day my hand will be big."I was three or four at the time. I know that songs at the time like Try to Remember
Jim Croce's If I Could Save Time in a Bottle
would leave me sad, pondering the passing of time. I remember wishing I could stay where I was forever and birthdays being bitter sweet. Later, I would keep a journal and it was all about how I felt growing up and the passing of time.
I told August we still had a month before the seasons changed and a month was a long time. We went outside to collect the mail and I noticed some yellow and orange leaves among the dead brown ones. I thought of what my grandmother had just said to me the night before, how she thought it would be an early fall this year. That she could feel this was the last of the heat and the season's changing. My thoughts on the short walk were interrupted by dragonflies. I noticed dragonflies were suddenly circling us. I told August they were inviting her to run and play with them. So off she went running with the dragonflies in the hot sun, getting sweaty and rosy cheeked. A few hovered above me making me feel warmly included.
On the way back from the mailbox August climbed the Crepe Myrtle and I told her,"You know today is the day Mommy first knew about you and that you were coming". She said,"I was a tiny, bitsy-bitsy in your tummy." As we walked back to the apartment she said she wanted to be a ghost for Halloween. I became excited because it would be her first real trick-o-treating Halloween. She got sick last year and couldn't participate in the fun. I started to think of how I'd make her costume. I asked her if she wanted to go see Halloween decorations and make some of our own soon to decorate her room. She said,"Yes, but not today." I asked her why and after a long pause she said she wanted to find bugs and look at them. I asked her if she wanted to go look at decorations after that and she said she wanted to nap and read stories instead. We were back in our bubble of time that doesn't seem to pass as quickly as people say it does. Just like anything, when you run, you get there faster. There is still much in store for the dog days of summer.