Today, the grass beyond my window peeks out from under the snow in an early mid-winter thaw, cold and here before its time. Exposed, like toes slipping out of a blanket that does not cover the bed. Small, like a baby born before its time.
You decided on your entrance into this world. Waking me up early one morning, I felt my body ache, and then ache again, and I knew you had decided to join us. We rocked, and bounced, and watched, and waited, and the aches turned into pains, and the pains into screams, and suddenly you were there, not waiting for me to finish your baby quilt, not waiting for me to know if I was ready for a second child, not waiting for the doctor to enter the room. You were here.
You were small, exposed. They laid you on my chest, telling me you were hungry and cold. And so we laid there, the two of us, while I gave you milk and you gave me everything I never knew was missing. We took you home, and they said you were small and getting smaller. So we sat on the couch, and I fed you and fed a machine and we watched TV shows about nothing. There we stayed until one day I no longer recognized you. Your cheeks rounded, your knees dimpled, your belly popped, and I knew that now, you were really here.
We spent the year walking and swaying, you strapped to my chest as we chased brother on his adventures. You learned to sit, slowly. You learned to crawl, slowly. You learned to walk, slowly. And then you learned to climb, run, dance, no longer so slowly. I watched you become who you are, who you were always meant to be.
Today, the grass peeks out early and you use more words than I count. You climb up on my lap, and yell, “baby!” then snuggle into the crook of my arm, wanting to be rocked like a little one. It makes me laugh, you pretending to be a baby, and wonder when you stopped being one yourself. Tonight you cried and cried over everything and nothing, over wanting a cracker and not wanting a cracker and the big emotions that come with being one. I handed you a piece of cheese and you stopped and looked at me, gulping for air between sobs. “Tink-ku,” you said, your word for thank you.
You are welcome. You are welcome for the bouncing, the swaying, the rocking, the sleepless nights, the nursing, the worrying, the doctor visits, the early mornings, the hugs, the kisses, the piece of cheese. But I must thank you. For showing me the frozen grass outside my window, here before its time but ready to grow. Thank you bringing me through the world as it is, to the world as it is meant to be.