Forgive me, I posted this over at the other place a couple of days ago, but I wanted to have it here too. Nobody reads this thing on weekends anyway, right?
I love her chubby cheeks, the extra chin that turns her neck into a great, hidden mystery, the dimples on her elbows so deep they are really divots. I love the soft, sweet orb of her belly, the creases in her thighs that look as though they were deep-cut by a raging river over millions of years, the way her fat little ankles bulge out over the perfect rectangles of her feet.
I love her eyes, grey then green then brown then blue. I love the long locks of hair that twist into wild ringlets just behind her ears. I love her eight shining white teeth, especially the top two middle teeth that came in so fast and large and forceful and presage the little girl she is quickly becoming. I love the ridiculously long fringe of her eyelashes, her mouth, still slightly crooked that reminds me of the months she spent banging her head up under my ribs, the tiny pink kiss of a birthmark on the side of her nose.
I love how she delights in climbing the stairs but refuses to learn to go back down. I love the dirty look she shoots me when I follow too closely, when I can almost hear her thinking "Mama, I can do it myself." I love the way she holds her hand out to me and squeals, demanding that I escort her on an unsteady promenade across the kitchen. I love the look of determination and bliss on her face as she pushes a toy or a chair or a box along ahead of her as she makes her straight-legged, upright progress around the house. I love that she hasn't learned to turn and must abandon walking whenever her prop hits a wall.
I love the elaborate syncopation of her fingers on the satin trim of her blanket as she falls asleep. I love nursing her to sleep, watching as she struggles to find the energy to keep sucking and then collapses, her head lolling back onto my lap with the last drop of milk rolling down her flushed cheek. I love putting her in her crib and watching her fling herself over onto her stomach and pull her knees up under her like a piston ready to fire. I love going in to get her when she awakes and finding her standing in the corner of her crib, peering around the solid end, watching for the door to open and breaking into grins and giggles when she sees her rescuer has arrived.
I love the way she scoops up handfuls of Cheerios and shovels them into her mouth, always saving one or two in her clenched fist to eat when her supply runs out. I love the way she hands me Cheerios or toys or bits of lint she finds on the floor and then peers into my hands to see what I have, finally thinking better of her generosity and snatching the item back.
I love even the crying, the sad or angry or hurt tears, the temper tantrums, the howling in frustration, the laughing when I tell her no, the hitting my face while she eats, the long nights of no sleep. I love it all.
I love her laugh, not best; I couldn't pick a single thing I love best, but perhaps as first among equals. I love the way it rolls and peals and starts and stops in fits. I love that she is starting to find her own humor. I love when she laughs at me, and even more when she laughs with me.
I love being here every day, for all of it, for every small step and large step and actual step. I love being a mommy, being this kind of mommy, being almost always within the sound of the voice she finds more and more each day.
What do you love?