Dear Catherine Newman:

While I am fully aware that thousands of people will read your latest blog entry and have exactly the same reaction I did, I’d like to thank you personally for making me cry actual noticeable tears during my Monday night graduate class. Thank goodness my professor is part bat, or opossum, or something, and likes it dark while he teaches, because the only person who noticed my show of emotion in that chilly little cave-den of a classroom was the person directly beside of me. I was able to play it off as a coughing fit–finally, a good time to be sick!–instead of some bizarre, unwarranted reaction to bad customer service, which is what we were discussing this week (and the reason I was reading your blog instead of paying attention to Dr. Nocturnal). But the truth is, I wanted to lose it, to positively sob, and certainly not because of that hideous drugstore incident a few weeks ago that I am still considering reporting to the management*. I have, in fact, been on the verge of losing it for several days now, and it’s because I once had this tiny, squirming baby with enormous brown eyes and the most charming repertoire of little word-sounds and song-sounds, and now, today, this small person stopped in the middle of her play and walked over to me (walked!), made the sign for “eat,” and said clearly, “banana?” Just like that, a question, like she knew there was a chance I’d say no but she thought she’d ask anyway, and when I did say no, because we had bananas for breakfast, and I offered her strawberries instead, she nodded (nodded!) and walked to the high chair and waited patiently for me to lift her up and buckle her in and slide on the tray, and before I could do any lifting or buckling she threw her arms around my neck and said, “Mama!” like I had just made all of her dreams come true.

I have moments like this daily now, moments when I just want to stop and stare in awe at this creature who wasn’t even here a little over a year ago, who was just a living, moving extension of my very body, but who now fills up such a huge space in my world. Already she is so passionate in her curiosity and her concentration and her love. Where did she come from, this person who very gently and very deliberately strokes the cat’s nose with the tip of her index finger, who digs through the scarves and hats and gloves in the basket next to the door until she finds the ratty old scarf I got at Old Navy for 99 cents, the one I wore almost every day this winter, who sings to herself the same three clear, perfect notes over and over, and who pulls her feet to her tiny nose and sniffs dramatically every night when I pull her socks off, a sly smile playing around her eyes? She doesn’t like open doors and walks around behind me closing them, and she likes to throw paper in the garbage, and at night when it’s time for bed she helps me put her toys in their bins and cubbies and points to the lights insistently until every switch is flipped. She claps her hands only to music she likes, and she invites me to dance, reaching her small hands up to take mine and moving her feet wildly, allowing herself to be lifted and twirled and dipped. And when I gather her up out of her bed every morning and hold her close and breathe in her scent, she wraps her arms around my neck and turns her face until her forehead is resting against my neck and sighs, and I am overcome with love for her, and I am blown away–not just because she exists, or because she is mine, or even because she is evolving from baby to girl-child, but because she chooses to love me back.

*Let’s just say that if you have a store coupon for your previously-prescription-now-OTC allergy medication from that drugstore that rhymes with Tallgreens, and if that coupon does not have an expiration date on it, but the coupon ON THE BACK does have an expiration date on it, the snippy know-it-all manager will not honor the coupon and will keep flipping it over to show you the expiration date, which is actually on a coupon for an antacid, and will try to make you feel stupid for using an expired coupon even though, and I can’t say this enough, there is NO EXPIRATION DATE ON THE ALLERGY MEDICINE COUPON.

4 thoughts on “Dear Catherine Newman:

  1. this was so beautiful.
    it reminds me of the reasons i want to be a mom.
    and the song “stealing cinderella” (country genre, if you dont know)
    thank you for sharing this…

  2. That was so beautiful. sniff
    Children are the most amazing things. Mine is not signing or even talking yet, but I spend every day in awe of him.

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