I grew that butt. I'm teasing her of course. I call her things like Turkey and Nincompoop. She smiles but tries to hide it behind a semi-stern look. She is starting the long (short?) walk away from me. I see it more each day. She looks ahead, always the next thing and the next thing on the path to adulthood. Years of change seem to have consolidated into months.
She remains the confident girl I've been raising for nearly 8 1/2 years. She's my teacher, the first-born child who is subjected to all of her mother's goofs and experimentation. She's mostly patient and forgiving of my faults in parenting. She's still learning how to be a daughter at the same time I learn to be a mother. We reinvent our relationship weekly, daily maybe. I've never been the mother to a daughter her age...every day.
We fumble along this journey, both together and separately, yet connected irrevokably.
She giggles you did not!
Yes I did! I insist and point to my stomach. I grew it right here. And I grew that face and those fingers...
She's not trying to hide the grin anymore. She loves to hear stories about herself in her younger days...in utero stories are as welcome as any of the other stories. We're connected. Always. She carries parts of me with her every day, every hour, every moment.
Suddenly she sobers.
Mom? Are you glad the doctors saved me? She knows her birth was traumatic (though not as traumatic as it could have been) and that she had the cord wrapped tightly around her neck and body. She knows that I was terrified I'd lose her. She knows that I wanted her desperately. She already knows the answer to her question but she's still a little girl despite all the growing and changing she's doing; we're doing.
Of course I am. Of course I am. She visibly relaxes even though she knew the answer and melts into me. Connected.