September 30, 2005


Every grown up brings with them a suitcase from their own childhood full of monsters and silver coins, of tauntings and toy trains, of dread and dreams, the weighty and the lofty, and no matter how long or hard I sit on that suitcase, it pops open sometimes and I show my child who i really am, or who i once was, it's still a mixed bag and mostly i don't know.

Sometimes I think that's a good thing, the showing, but other times I wish I could keep it from happening, because I don't want the junk inside of my suitcase to spill into hers. I want her suitcase to stay light and easy, a clean cloth liner with a flower pattern, plenty of side pockets filled with cotton candy and washable markers. I want the demons and claws to stay locked in my samsonite. it's not always hard to keep them contained. Some days it's near impossible though.

And that's what being a mother is I think--the half showing your child who you are and half protecting them from who you're not.

Today I watch my little girl growing and growing and growing and growing and I can't believe she was ever small enough to have been cut from my belly with a knife. And I remember the milisecond I saw her and thought, it can't be, she's okay, oh, oh, look, she's alive, this is it, I have a daughter, oh, oh, my god, am i okay, this is it, i am a mother, i can never ever go back, no return, what am i supposed to be feeling, i'm so cold, she's so small.

There is at once the singular, languishing, lasting moment of childbirth, and life fast forwards from there.

Tonight we had a party at Chuck-E-Cheese. It is a place of sensory overload and kinetic mania, but that's okay. It's also a place of startling supply chain efficiency. Workflow, family flow, present flow, pizza flow, dance flow, tokens flow, prizes flow -- it is business process perfection in search of a visio diagram.

Tonight we played like kids with the kids and clapped to song ripoffs that don't deserve the air that absorbs them. Except for the smiles so big that nothing else matters--just the smiles and smiles and smiles and smiles and smiles--miles of them.

I love my sweet Jenna so much.