This morning I let Avery eat raspberries straight from the container.
She was entranced.
Sitting on top of the table, bent over the container, jibbering softly to herself. She loves raspberries, and every time she put one in her mouth, she made a half delighted, half excited mmmm sound.
In between bites, she studied the container. She loves containers, and lids. She practiced opening and closing it.
She had such a look of happy captivation. I was unable to tear myself from the wonder of her, unable to tear herself from the wonder of the plastic raspberry container.
When she was a newborn, I meant to make a list of all the little moments I didn’t want to forget. The captivating sighs and squeaks when she was sleeping. The touchdown signal with her arms when she was laid down to sleep. The way she held her hands out with this happy, peaceful halt motion when she was waking up.
How many have I already forgotten?
Her Uncle Mike gave her this hilarious pop-up toy. Because it had small parts, I stored it until she was old enough to play with it. One day I noticed it lying in the garage when I went out to get something from the freezer. On a whim, I brought it in and manipulated the mechanism so that it would play peekaboo with her.
Sitting in her high-chair, she became perfectly still, frozen, every aspect of her being focused on this new marvel, her body motionless but somehow strumming with joyful wonder.
I can’t capture it in words. But it was one of the most magical moments of my entire life, both deeply moving and profoundly funny.
I called Uncle Mike and Aunt Jossie, trying to describe it for them.
I meant to try to capture it on video tape the next time I pulled out that toy. But some moments can’t be recreated. Or I let too many moments pass and the more sophisticated little girl she is becoming won’t respond that way again.
It is recorded only in my memory.
Not long ago, I lay on my back in bed with Avery sitting on my belly playing with my water bottle. I noticed that she had that look. That one of utter captivation. She was practicing putting the lid on and taking it back off the water bottle. Once again, her entire being was focused on this singular task, enraptured with her newly emerging skills, whispering happily to herself, a secret language known only to the spellbound.
I don’t want to forget these moments. But they are so many, and my memory so fickle and traitorous a keeper.
Avery saying “doggy.” Avery saying “please, please, please,” so softly and sweetly that I feel compelled to let her play with the salt shaker. Avery holding the remote control to her ear, hand in the air, pretending to talk on a phone. Avery laughing at herself for startling when the cat jumped up on the side of the bath tub.
If only there were a way to record each moment, the look, the texture, the feel, the sounds and smells. If they could only be perfectly preserved, like mosquitos in amber or wooly mammoths in a glacier. Stored safely in a time capsule, to be reopened and savored again at any later date. Fossilized and rediscovered thousands of years from now.
Avery pulling the landscaping flag from the yard and laughing endlessly as the cat swats at it in her hands. Avery saying “hi” into the phone and waiving at it when her dad calls her from work. Avery acceding to my request for a hug. Avery so wanting to be part of the conversation among the men at the diner in Custer that she keeps laughing like there’s a joke and she gets it. Avery standing by herself, and bouncing in celebration, understanding that the clapping is all for her.
I will forget. Oh I know I will forget.
Avery wrapping her arms around me in determination when she senses I’m about to get up and go do something else. Avery’s face nestled snugly in my neck. Avery marching proudly behind her push-cart lion. Avery sleeping nestled up against my side, the blanket securely around her, the breeze from the open windows changing the sound of the fan, listening to the sprinklers come on in the yard, imagining her first summer in the new house, planning the sand box, the swing set, the swimming pool, the scamper of little feet, the smell of lilac bushes and barbecues.
I don’t want to forget! Help me never forget…