She fits in my lap, barely, but that doesn’t stop her from wanting to cuddle there, nor does it stop me from hoisting her there and doing all I can to hold and preserve, ’til she’s ready to get up.
The bittersweetness of her disappearing childhood–gradual, utterly inescapable–is a taste she knows as well or better than do her mother and I.
Because she is so adept at putting her feelings into words, we know the acuteness of her awareness. She hears her mama’s or my casual reference to something she used to do when she was a baby, or watches her little brother play with a toy that was once hers (and now, for good reason, is no longer), and it all comes back in a rush: the longing for her own, lost, younger self.
And yet that feeling, powerful though it is when it comes, is wedged right next to its opposite: an insatiable appetite for new knowledge, longer words, more complex keys to vaster mysteries. The grown-up girl-sounding statements, pronounced as much to hear what they sound like coming out of her mouth as for anything else.
She lurches forward, swirls backward, glides ahead, and then stops again and looks back, hand at her brow, shielding her vision from the bright light of the inevitable.