The other day Rosalyn asked me about her, the her before.
“I have a project Mum. What did I used to like? How was I?”
I stared at her rather confused for a moment, because, well…she’s nine. There’s a before to that?
Of course there is. I read through an old blog talking about her at 3 (oh those eons ago!) and realize it’s ancient history to her, and in some ways, to be.
Yet I can still feel the cream smooth skin of her cheek on my fingers. I can still hear her screeching for a drink or a snack or her own damn way. I can feel her dead sleepy weight as a toddler in my arms, the tightness of her tiny pointed fingers in my hand, the muddle that her hair has been since the day she was born.
I see it all like a reflection in herself, superimposed and delirious.
She hasn’t changed, not at all. The babe, the toddler, the small child, they’re all the same. She has always been steadfast and true, prone to unmanageable moods. She’s always felt too much, yet been deliberate in her actions. She loves what she loves, and she’s not afraid of it.
She hates pants with buttons.
I’m amazed to look back, to read about this sweet honey bear of a girl and realize she is what I saw. There has been no becoming-the very inches that make Rosalyn her were there the first moment I saw her. She has always been strong. She has always seen the world clearly for what it is. She has always been cautious but firm. Her anger is legion when triggered.
So we talked about colors. And food. And toys. I didn’t mention that the mandarin oranges she loved would emerge nearly fully formed when she filled a diaper, and certainly forgot to point out the desperate desire she had for a bright orange room with big pink polka dots once. But I softly sang a song under my breath that I once sang to her each night when exhausted would cuddle her for brief moment before bed, knowing I would miss the time years later, yet too tired then to care.
So, how have you changed child?
You head no longer fits that curve under my chin. Your bottom doesn’t settle into the crook of my elbow so gently. Your breath doesn’t tickle my ear as your drift off to sleep. Tonight I tucked you in, and you kept reading after a hug and a kiss and a love you.
You don’t need be quite so much, that’s what changed. We’re growing up, and out and away, and we keep changing.
We called you Shiva as a baby, destroyer. But it’s not destruction you were fated, it was change. You bring change to everything you touch-how I see the world, how I move within it. You changed everything, you change everything, just by being.