We are experiencing the weirdest season together. Yesterday I was watching you move our office furniture around (future interiors stylist, called it months ago) and I realized just how comfortable I am with you, how normal you seem to me. You seem like – dare I say it – my daughter. Like you’re going to grow up to become a child, then a teenager, and then a grown-up (but hopefully not too much of a grown-up). You’re an actual person.
I realize this sounds crazy, because of course you are a person, but Bee, babies are these funny little drops of dye that land in our water and swirl and swirl and swirl us around until they change our truest colors. And when you’re in it, you don’t see it. But then we open our eyes a little wider and blink a little harder and realize we’re not quite what we used to be. That you’re not quite what you used to be. We’re yellow now, Bee.
I’m doing things I always thought mothers did, like helping you find the missing puzzle piece that fell behind the couch, and kissing your finger when you slam it in the garbage can and zipping up your jacket a bit higher so you’re toasty warm. We go on sled rides and dinner dates and grocery runs, and it’s more fun when you’re there.
It’s not work anymore. I don’t mean to be cruel when I say that, because Bee, all babies are work. They’re another thing to carry, and actually, they’re another five things to carry when you count the diaper bags and car seats and stroller parts and everything else mothers register for because they’re the tiniest bit scared that they won’t know what to do without a landing pad of stuff to soften the jump into new parenthood. It’s weighty, because for every five things I’d carry on my shoulder, there were five hundred more thoughts I’d carry in my head, wondering if you’re getting enough to eat or are too hot or too tired or over-stimulated or completely bored.
And now, you’re a toddler. And it’s hard for different reasons, but those reasons aren’t nearly as scary. You know approximately five million words, and you tell me every opinion you have. More of this, less of that, yes and no and maybe and probably and no, never, not even a little bit. I don’t have to guess what you’re thinking, and whether or not you’re taken care of. Because now you get to be in charge of yourself. (Relatively. Don’t get a big head, Bee.)
You eat with a fork. You ride a scooter down the hallway. You count to three and say “Surprise!” (“Ahh-pies!”) You wash your own hair and brush your own teeth and choose your own snack and fill your own water and you run, full speed ahead, into the independent person you were created to be – the very shade of yellow you were born to radiate.
We can’t help but turn yellow, too, Bee. Your color permeates, your joy reverberates. And it’s yellowing us all.