There are some newborn babies being rocked in their pumpkin seats at the table behind me at the coffee shop. They're sleeping, their wrinkled little hands involuntarily curling as their bodies snuggle into handmade blue blankets. Every now and then I hear a little snort or sniffle, and catch a glimpse of an eye slowly opening, then closing. It's a baby's business to sleep, sometimes, and these two are working hard.
9 years and some months ago, I was in a coffee shop with Curious Girl, herself getting rocked in a sling. She was 9 months old, not quite a newborn, but so very new to me. She loved the foam on the coffee drink Politica got (and we had no idea then what foreshadowing that foam held: it would be years before she could really drink a beverage, years in which she would rather just play with the foam on the surface and ignore the nutrition). And we loved seeing the drink through her eyes. The foam was fun. The spoon was fun. Just being out of the hotel and out on the streets with a baby--our!! baby!!!--was a miracle.
Today, I sit in the coffee shop alone. My baby--for she will always be my baby, I tell her, just as I at nearly 50 am still my mother's baby in a way--is off at gymnastics, and then off to dress rehearsal for a figure skating show. She could drink a whole beverage tonight if she cared to. She can flip and turn and twirl and jump, on ice or off. Her life seems a blur (literally, she would tell you. I love the way she uses literally, as in Literally, I love the way she says literally so often.). She doesn't just walk places. She turns cartwheels or forward rolls or walks on her hand. She does waltz jumps or ballet jumps as she moves from the kitchen to her bedroom. She's ever in motion, so absorbed in just the sensation of moving that she might not hear us speak. She's so graceful, so packed with power.
And curious, ever curious.
And 10. Happy birthday, beautiful girl. Happy birthday, my big, small-and-mighty girl, who's growing into her very own mighty self.