I watch her eyelids flutter open, tiny eyelashes on the verge of curling. Her mouth starts making its rounds, readying her tongue to bring breakfast in. Then, as I peel off her swaddling, her long arms jolt perfect hands to action. Unknowingly (or maybe just unknown to me), she starts conducting the beautiful music we'll sing and dance to together today. Her legs, so humanly frog-like, direct feet, once planted firmly in my ribs, in a rhythm all her own.
I pick up my precious gift and we start our dance of this day together. Like a video game outdated by the time she's old enough to play it, the dance is as much a game, a puzzle even, as art.
How long will you eat this time, baby? Which side will be your favorite? Are you really finished or just taking a break? Where is that burp, princess? I need to hear it before you get more. This worked yesterday, are you already that different? This morning you were snuggly, now you're acting like you drank 5-hour-energy. Will you want to be changed before you go to sleep, or will the cold air wake you up too much with hiccups and sobs? Will you sleep flat, roll to your side, demand to be held or just keep your beautiful eyes on me or your dad? How long will you sleep this time, my dear? Do I have time to take a nap or a shower, start some laundry, finish a
She answers me in coos and grunts and squeaks, and, yes, sometimes even cries. She tells me her story as best she can.
This story is both new and familiar. The characters, the plot twists, the adventures of the princess. All of them shifting slightly like the shadows of nursery curtains swaying to the fan's beat. It's all I can do to remember yesterday's version, which is already overgrown with the daughter of today. The end of each story is the same, a wonderful same I will never tire of. She drinks me in and I eat her up. We change each other. Connect each other to life, now and to come.
This is life. A gift, a puzzle, a story full of love and mystery.