I’m not sure when I wrote this, but I came across it while migrating some old stuff to this blog. I’m publishing it with a back date of September 2008, because that’s probably close.
In her perfect, peaceful face is the greatest happiness I will ever know and the harbinger of my greatest desolation.
Maybe I wouldn’t feel this way if I’d become a mother younger, before the passage of time grew so visceral, the certainty of change so inescapable.
Before I truly understood the transience of moments, the ease with which days become seasons and seasons become years, the ethereal half-life of every happiness.
Before the gray at my temples could serve as such cruel reminder that there will one day be gray hers.
My bones ache, the tiny lines in the mirror grow less forgiving, the “somedays” slowly but relentlessly become “nevers.”
And I know my daughter’s peaceful sleeping face will not always brighten when she wakes to find me watching.
I was never capable of such happiness nor such melancholy before she was born.
Every first—first cuddle, first look, first smile, first laugh, first coos, first words, first steps—is so unbearably, achingly perfect and so impossible to hold.
That all our firsts will one day be lasts cuts unbearably.
Slay me softly, mortality.