fourzoas: (wee me)
[personal profile] fourzoas

My mother tells me that I spoke my first word when I was 9 months old. Every morning she'd come into my bedroom when she heard me wake. Every morning she'd greet me with a cheery "Hi," the same cheer, I imagine, that she'd greeted me with on my teen mornings, her voice ringing out to sing "Rise and shine and give God your glory." I must admit that there were truly unglorious things I wanted to share with God in those moments, but at 9 months old, I was happy to see, hear, and feel my mother's love and kindness all around me.

On that morning, the morning of the first word, I imagine that I awoke with the dawn, the warm sun filtering through the blinds to tickle me from slumber on a summer's day. I must have lain there for a bit of time as I blinked and adjusted my eyes to focus in on my surroundings. My tiny hands may have grasped the blanket, the same blanket my mother brought me recently, a special item she'd saved from my childhood to share with my son. My little legs probably kicked a bit, a final signal that it was time to get moving.

Come to think of it, I still wake in the same way.

I'll bet that I pulled myself up to sit, wanting to be prepared for her entrance. I'd been working hard on this gift, and I'm sure that even in my limited understanding, I was ready to do this thing for this beautiful person with the liquid light voice. She'd been moving a bit more slowly recently, and I could see her shape changing before my eyes. Her belly seemed to be expanding, and as I grew, so did she. There was so much about her and her life that I didn't understand and wouldn't understand and may never understand, but this I knew: that she cuddled, comforted, and caressed me, that she was the meaning of love and light and warmth. Surely I could show her how special she was.

I imagine that I heard her stirring in the other room, her lighter step markedly different from my father's. This was our time, the time we shared before he rose with his fuss and bluster, and I imagine that I began to bounce a bit in anticipation, perhaps clapping my hands or letting a small giggle escape as I heard her in the nearby bathroom. I must have taken that moment to make my move, to position my little body near the railing of my crib, to grasp the sides and pull myself up to stand for her.

I imagine her smiling as she entered my room, all of the difficult life that happened in other parts of that house forgotten as she neared the crib and opened her mouth to issue her usual greeting. I imagine the surprise in her eyes, surprise that carried a mixture of delight and sorrow, as her baby girl beat her to the punch and issued the morning "Hi!"

It was probably just a reflex, a learned response, a moment of pure coincidence that brought that sound from my lips at the right time, in the right context, on the right day. Still, I like to imagine that it was something more than that, my first step on a now-40 year journey of learning to talk to my mother. Even though I'm now at the start of a new conversation with my infant son, she still greets my phone calls with a "hello, little girl." I still respond with a "hello, little mama." In those moments I'm transported to a fresh morning with the sunlight coming through the blinds of that small Louisiana bedroom, and I'm bringing her whatever new thing I've learned today.

I like to imagine that it will be this way forever.

This post was written in response to Topic 3 for [livejournal.com profile] therealljidol: Smiles. Thanks for reading!

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January 2010

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