I Still See Her…

Who is this girl?

Mascara-laced lashes frame baby-blues not so babyish anymore.

The glasses she’s worn constantly since the age of two are optional now; her eyes have mended.

She smiles and I see her. She’s in there still.

That ball-of-energy little girl who seemed to run before she learned to walk. Who climbed trees and mastered the monkey bars, with calloused hands for her trophy.

Sometimes in pink and sequins.

Before she was born, I imagined her like this.

But I was only a mother to a son and didn’t know for sure what to expect with a little girl.

How would I play with a little girl? Would I have to dress her in fancy lace with ribbons in her hair? Or could we catch tadpoles at the creek and go camping, like I did with my son?

We didn’t even know whether the baby to be born was a boy or a girl. A surprise, it would be.

When she finally flung herself into this world, already running it seemed, I was instantly surprised.

And yet, not.

Part of me felt all along that this baby was a girl. But I pushed away those ideas of mother’s intuition and all that nonsense. I’m too logical for that.

Who is this girl?

This girl who changed our family forever with her birth. She’s still my little girl and yet, not.

Will we always be close?

Eyes roll now, she’s much more aware of my clothing and the things I do that make me old. Aware, possibly, that I am her future self. Does she fear my wrinkles and gray hair?

And still, we giggle. We laugh about the boys in our family. We are bonded by things like perfume, skinny jeans, music, and lip gloss.

She watches me sometimes. Like I used to watch her in the crib while she slept.

And I wonder what she’s thinking.

Does she know how much I adore her? What a kind and caring person she’s become? How different my life would be without her here?

Twelve years old suddenly seems so much closer to eighteen than to six.

That little girl hasn’t slipped through my fingers, but has wrapped herself around my heart.

And she’s still in there.