Monday, March 8, 2010

my baby is two.

The gym. I finished stretching and was headed to the shower, passing the cafe. There on top of one of the tables was a baby. Sitting up, big eyes, curious, watching. His mom at the table, and another lady too, both of them aware of the attention they were (rightly) drawing with this incredible cuteness.

He looked so much like Clark had. The baldness, the plaintive expressions, the chubbiness. I hesitated, circled back for another look. And then I was crying, surprised that I was. What I thought was: my baby is gone, vanished, lost from me. Something that was mine and is no longer.

In the shower I put my hands flat on the tile wall and cried in full. I was in the shower a long time, and I thought about how this loss of mine wasn't just a personal loss--it also belongs to every woman with a child. Every mother. A whole segment of the population.

I finished with my cry, was ready to move on, dried off and dressed. I was walking out, my bag over my shoulder, when the non-mother woman from the table (the grandmother? a friend?) passed me in the locker room carrying the baby on her shoulder. Oh he was cute. Cute cute cute. Serious cuteness. I stopped her and said, "I have to get a look at this guy," and to him, "Hi there sweetness," and then suddenly again I had to turn away for the emotion. It came up so quickly! I ended up having to sit on a bench by the locker room door and just try to let it pass. Every woman who left the locker room couldn't help but see me there and I wondered how many would pass me before someone stopped to ask if I were okay. (which I was, and felt pretty silly for all this emotion over something so obvious and normal.)

All of that was last week. Today, however, is Clark's birthday. Two years ago I was very tired and large and uncomfortable, and then while cooking dinner I had a contraction that made me stand still. Two years. Time is a funny thing, a slippery thing, and now my baby flips himself over the back of the sofa, shouts SCHOOL BUS and CITY BUS from the back seat, eats his gnocchi with a spoon. Self, self, he says, and hauls himself up and into his own car seat. This afternoon he and his sister and our neighbor kids were playing, and when they said they were going to the attic he turned and pointed to me, said no come. 

My baby. My last one.

It's okay, though. A couple of days after the thing at the gym I found myself laughing with him, getting him to say words that were hard for his mouth wrap around. He said zweebwra, and we laughed and laughed. And I thought, this is better. That baby was sweet, but this is more. It is life. Going forward. Because that's what it does.


Kristina said...

teary. (really!)

Paige said...

Cali, thank goodness you don't post more often, bc your posts often make me cry. This one certainly did. Beautifully written and resonated with me so much.

Clark looks so different with hair! Also, have you read One Fish Two Fish yet? There's a Clark near the end. Kind of an unusual name for a Dr. Seuss book.

Leslie said...

I feel I'm able to keep connected to you because of this blog, I like to know how you are doing, and that you are okay there. This post, more than any other, has stayed on my mind since I first read it a week ago (resonating, indeed!). Sometimes Durham feels like ten years ago, thank you for reminding me it's not, and that my own child is still very young, and I have celebrated and savored that youth every moment this week because of you. Thank you!