Bobbing and weaving in time to the music in her head, she bounded over to me.
“Mama,” she smiled largely, the winning smile that I just know she’ll be using on her future dates. “I wanna watch more Tuff Puppy.”
“No Baby-Pants,” I laughed. “Not tonight. It’s bedtime.”
“Okay,” she stretched her smile as widely as she could. “Can we watch more Tuff Puppy on SUNDAY?”
“Sure,” I giggled at her inflection and emphasis. No one is gonna say no to this kid. “We can watch it on Sunday.”
“OKAY,” she broadcast to the whole house. “THANKS MAMA.”
She bobbed and wobbled off to get her diaper changed before bed.
I sat there, looking after her, bemused and amazed and more than a little bit teary.
It’s coming up on her third birthday. To think this tiny tot with an attitude the size of Texas was once the very same baby whose life I prayed for. Who’s head I wept into. Who’s tiny feet I once held onto like they were lifelines to a world in which no NICU’s, no PICU’s existed. It’s hard to reconcile that these are the same people.
Yet they are.
For her birthday this year, I will celebrate. I will buy a monster of a cake and we shall eat it, sharing it happily with anyone who can be bothered to brave the frigid January air. This year, we will celebrate.
And maybe, just maybe, I can let the ghosts of my past, who still haunt my present, be silent.
If only for a day.