On Being Abbey's Mother
by Holli Stevenson
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I’m sitting here by the light of the desk lamp waiting for cupcakes to bake. They have to be frosted, and topped with smiley Elmo’s before they can be considered “ready” for the Kindergarten class tomorrow. My baby is going to be six.
She is so tiny and so delicate. Big brown eyes stare up at me as this little voice asks, “Really Mommy?” when we discuss whether or not the mall Santa is the real thing. I love her innocence. I love the pureness of who she is, the perfect, untainted, unadulterated sweetness of little girl. She still likes to snuggle with her Mommy from time to time, and when her eyes finally close against the sleep she’s been fighting, I can simply stare. I love holding her tiny hands; little fingers curled around my own as I trace the tiny bones. Her lashes rest on her still baby chubby cheeks, and that beautiful Grace Kelly eyebrow arches even in her dreams. If you asked Abigail where her favorite place in the world is, she will answer, “In my Mommy’s arms.” She is just big enough to speak (loudly) for herself, and still small enough to be held. Her night terrors consist of chupacabbras and other monsters her brother has filled her head with. I can live with this. I love the little voice that calls out “Mommy” and the little hands that pat me awake when she comes crawling into our bed in the middle of the night. There is nothing sweeter smelling than her little head as it rests in the crook of my shoulder. I could breathe her in forever.
In the morning, as we leave for school, I watch her pack up her frog backpack and look for her caterpillar lunchbox. She bops down the front steps. . .a big girl on her way to school. She gets to be “big” until she climbs in the car, and has to strap herself into her carseat. Of course, it isn’t a baby seat; it has “racing straps” for a seat belt. Being “big” is quite important when you are in Kindergarten. No longer do I have to pry her hands loose from my leg as I drop her off in the mornings. She jumps from the car, ready to face her day. I have to remind her to let me get her sweet spot, but always, she comes running back; a little hand pushing up her bangs and turning her forehead up to my lips. I could kiss this spot forever.
Daily, I fold up tiny pairs of pants and blue uniform shirts. Little socks, the only kind she will ever wear, find their way into her top drawer, next to brightly colored panties and the smallest undershirts WalMart carries. It doesn’t matter that I am standing on a Lego city as I put the clothes away, or that there is a pile of naked baby dolls in the corner. Whether or not the bed is made is inconsequential. This room is a minor disaster. . .I could care less. I love that the evidence of a happy childhood can be found on the floor of this room, or under my couch, and behind the towels in the bathroom cabinet. (Did I mention there are Legos EVERYWHERE?) The melted crayons that adorn the back of my car just add to the character of it. . .they fit right in with the French fries jammed between the seats and the loose motor mount that gives us a lovely rythym to drive by. There are superheros and Barbies in my bathtub, and more times than I can count the water gets left in the tub until it is nothing more than a tepid soup of deflated bubbles, floating toys, and grungy girl ring around the tub. The dark circle surrounding the fiberglass is evidence that in this house, a little girl plays hard, plays dirty, and can still wash clean and pink like the princess her Daddy knows she is.
The words to a beautiful song say, “In my daughter’s eyes, I am a hero. I am strong and wise and I know no fear. But the truth is plain to see. . .she was sent to rescue me. I see who I want to be in my daughters eyes.” No other words about this experience as Abbey’s Mommy could better describe the magnificent love affair I have with my child. I see every good thing that I am capable of being in her eyes. Her innocence and her amazing ability to see people the way that our Father sees them are qualities I long for. I am the parent, but it is she who is teaching me.
My baby turns six today. I am 31 years old, and have come to the realization that however hard I fight it, the clock keeps moving forward and time indeed, marches on.
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