Sunday, July 5, 2015

Happy birthday, little Doodle


A year ago today I wrote this post in honor of my eldest child's birthday. Today the lovely Kiera turns 27, and so I am continuing the tradition.

When I was 27, Kiera was one year old. We celebrated her birthday at my ex-husband's family cottage, as we would in the years that followed. That first birthday she sat in a huge aluminum bowl of water, clothed in nothing but dapples of shade as we tried to fight the heat and soothe the itch of chicken pox. Photos from the day show three red pox angling up and out symmetrically above each eyebrow. We made jokes about her having Spock brows.

(What I wouldn't give to have a copy of those photos. Or any photos from her childhood, really.)

Today, as she has every year, Dolce thanked me for bringing the gift of Kiera into the world. And she asked me questions, as she always does.
"Do you remember the way the top of her head smelled when she was a baby? Or the scent of her breath? The softness of her skin?"
"Yes." I remember all those things.
"What's your favorite of her physical features?"
"Her mouth, I guess. It's wide and beautiful. And her eyes. They are large and searching, attentive and kind."
"Do you remember things she said when she was little?"
"She said the funniest things when she was about 4. One day she came home and taught us a poem. It went like this:
    'My name is Edgie
    I'm sitting in a wedgie
    Potato in my jacket!' 
Another day she brushed my hair and said with obvious admiration 'Oh, mommy. Your hair is so long, and stringy...'"
"Was she always so confident?"
"Mostly. Maybe not as much during adolescence."
"What did she do that made you the maddest?"
That was a hard one. I thought, and thought, and realized that I can really come up with only one time that she made me mad.

Mostly I remember how gorgeous she was as a toddler with curling hair, huge eyes, and red lips. And how her legs ached when she went through growth spurts, the bones expanding so quickly that her flesh was traumatized. And how she became self-conscious and gawky during middle school before blossoming into lovely individuality as a young woman. And how I taught her to drive before she moved west, practicing parallel parking more times than I could count, and treasuring absolutely every single minute of it.

I remembered, and cried again, just as I have for the last five of Kiera's birthdays. I cried for lost time and for not being able to see her face on these days that celebrate her life.

Diane held me and let me cry, just as she does every year.

It is 4:00PM. Almost the very hour that my smart, kind, funny, passionate daughter was born. We will toast her soon, and give thanks that she exists.

Happy birthday, my sweet and lovely little Kiera Doodle.




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