Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Reflecting forward

Eleven years ago today, I woke up in my boss's house in Monterey. He and his wife were on vacation, I was watching their youngest daughter while they were gone. She was in elementary school, possibly junior high, and as I French-braided her hair into pigtails, we heard the news on the radio of an airplane hitting one of the towers. I went downstairs and turned on the TV and watched as the second tower fell. The girl didn't grasp the enormity of what was happening, but thought it sounded like a good excuse to get out of school (I didn't buy it).

I fell out of touch with this family that was a part of my life for five years. I don't know anything about this girl now, if she went to college, what career path she chose. I know when she was a little girl she insisted on wearing a pig costume all the time. I know anytime I watched her she wanted me to braid her hair. I know she liked to help at her dad's store. I know that because we were together on Sept. 11, I will always think of and remember her as that sweet kid on this day.

This morning, I pulled my own daughter's hair into pigtails. I dropped her off at school. She doesn't know the significance of this day, and I don't know at what age or to what extent she will. I don't know how growing up in a post Sept. 11 world will shape her worldview. I don't know if she will want me to French braid her hair into pigtails for school, or if she will become so infatuated with a costume that she will insist on wearing it to the grocery store. I don't know what career path she will choose.

At almost 14 months, I do know that her laugh lights up this house. She loves her dog Scoop, and blows her kisses when we leave in the morning. She says "momma," "dada," "baby," "hi," "bye," "up," "yeah," and "no." She has recently developed an independent streak, and doesn't want to be carried or hold hands while walking. She knows where her nose, toes and tongue are. She knows dogs say woof and cows say mmmmm. She likes water but is scared of waves. She'd rather be on pavement than grass. She loves books. She loves her friends, and the fish tank, at school. She dances when she hears music. If given the opportunity, she splashes in the dog water bowl and unspools the toilet paper roll. She puts tupperware "hats" on her head. She loves to hold a blankie, and uses them to play peekaboo. She delights.

Each day so far has been an amazing journey of getting to know this little person my baby is becoming. I look forward to discovering so much more.

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