Tuesday, July 20, 2010
I was looking for a thumbtack, way in the back of the drawer. But what I found was a ponytail elastic, a Hello Kitty ponytail elastic—with a few strands of my daughter Molly’s snowblonde hair wrapped around. Her hair, but from so long ago. So many years gone by, and it still seems like just a moment ago. And with a sudden shift I am in that moment.
One touch of those strands and I start to cry. Not dainty crying, but loud, messy sobbing. Sit down in the chair and look for Kleenex crying. Cats come running crying. And it all comes back to me, comes flooding back to me. The feel of her weight in my lap. The clean, sunny smell of her cheek. The sound of her voice.
“Hug, Mommy,” she was forever saying.
“I never say no to a hug, Baby,” I would always answer. My baby. We still call her Baby.
The crying? It’s complicated crying. Yes, time has passed; children grow up. I’m not a wallower. I do feel sad that so many years have flown by, that the magical early years of childhood are past. But I’m also happy and grateful. So grateful that my memory of those times can come to me so sharply and bring a rush of joy. And so grateful that I have had the wherewithal to do my best as a parent. I have little to regret and much to be thankful for.
And Molly? I can see her from here, she’s out in the yard. She’s filling bird feeders, and having a sort of conversation with a very angry red squirrel. She’s strong and slender, tough but tender. She’s my daughter all the way. Amanda is more like her father, but Molly and I are tuned to the same wavelength. I finish her sentences, she reads my mind. We just know.
And that 3-year-old with the hair like straw spun to gold? Yes, she’s gone. Gone, but not forgotten.
(Art by Molly Stone)
Posted by Alyson Button Stone at 2:22 PM