Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Profile of a girl

Last night, I got caught up in looking at Peanut’s baby pictures. I sat for a long time studying the photos of her smiling baby face – the toothless grins, the small smattering of downy hair on her head. Her face smeared in sweet potatoes. Standing in her exer-saucer carefully studying a rattle.

Staring at them brought back a flood of memories initially, but the longer I looked the harder it became to find in them the girl I know today – the one who talks non-stop to her kitten, plays elaborate role-play games with her sister and only slows down to eat and sleep.

The not-so-long ago face in those pictures seemed unfamiliar – as if the baby in them was one I only knew casually, which struck fear deep into my heart. If I was having trouble remembering the baby she was now, what will it be like when she’s 10, or 16, or 25? I switched off the computer and went to bed, feeling unsettled and restless.

This morning I woke early to get ready for work. As I dried my hair in the bathroom, Peanut pushed the door open.

“Well good morning,” I said to her, leaning over to place a kiss on her forehead. “Come on in.”

A sleepy haze still surrounded her and without a word she zombie walked over to thick bathmat and lay down. She covered herself with her blanket and stared off into space.

When I finished, I knelt down beside her. She was lying on her side. I sat above her studying her profile and there I saw it – the baby girl I remembered. She was there after all – in the soft curve of her forehead, the gentle protrusion of her nose, the bud of her lips and the roundness of her chin. It was a profile I remembered intimately from my days of nursing her.

I’d spent many hours staring down at her – in the beginning days obsessing about whether or not she was getting enough to eat and then later just enjoying her, loving the way she’d gaze up at me with a satisfied, languid look about her.

I moved my face just inches from hers and ran my index finger along her profile, studying it, tracing it into my memory. Making sure I won’t ever forget.

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6 Comments:

Blogger XUP said...

I know exactly what you mean. I look at photos of my baby and then see the teenage her in front of me. It’s frightening, but glimpses continue to shine through now and again.

4:28 PM  
Blogger Colleen said...

Oh I'm just all teary eyed now. Sigh.

10:01 PM  
Blogger Jennifer H said...

*sniff* I know what you mean. When my girl is asleep, I see the little bit of baby-ness left in her face. But my boy is older, and it's harder to see. Makes my heart ache.

This was beautiful.

2:21 AM  
Blogger Not Hannah said...

Lawsy, this was a great post, lady. I was just thinking the other day that I can't quite remember the baby Jeffrey was because the baby River is has sort of...taken him over in my head.

Love it. L.o.v.e. it.

5:27 PM  
Blogger Kimberly said...

Thank you all so much!

XUP - I can't imagine when they're teens. The thought scares the hell out of me.

8:54 AM  
Anonymous Kimmylyn said...

I am sitting here with HUGE tears in my eyes. This was beautiful. You need to print this out and give it to her when she gets older.

3:11 PM  

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