Monday, November 27, 2006


We met on your birthday. I was thirty five, you were zero, and the time was 9:50 PM. We found ways right there on the spot to make you special before you were gone from the womb in sixty seconds: You were the obstetrician’s last delivery in private practice; you were born on the same day as Bruce Springsteen, Miles Davis and Ray Charles, and your head was as round and as perfect and as peachy-creamy-looking as the C-section babies' even though you were born the old fashioned way. The doctor rubbed your back and said, “Come on, cry, baby.” You did.
That was pretty much the last time you did as you were told.
You’re two now. The time went by, as every parent says, so quickly and yet so slowly. You are growing like a weed. You are unique in all the world.
From my observations, the twos aren’t so much terrible as they are terrific. You are enjoying yourself at levels that should be reserved for rave-goers on their fortieth hit of Ecstasy. We play games that involve my threatening to bite your toes, your belly, your knees, your neck, and when I make good on each promise, it makes you laugh so hard you fart. You are so afraid of falling asleep and missing something that I've seen you actually hold your eyes open with your fat little fingers. For reasons that are unknown to me and maybe to you, you have a love-hate relationship with one of our dogs, and a love-love relationship with all others. You sing along with the songs on your CDs in the car, and the way you dance can only be described as free-style. You do it as if everybody's watching--and you like it that way. You are by far the most delightful person I’ve ever met, which makes me wonder if we are all this wonderful, but forgot.
I admit I’m still a little intimidated by the vocation of parenting. The hours are long, the mistakes are begging to be made, and the pay sucks. Before you were born, what I wondered most was how in the world I would deliver you to adulthood a healthy, educated and loved person, so that you could keep yourself safe and happy for the rest of your life. What stymies me now is how I can keep you from forgetting that you are terrific, at any and every age. I’m comforted by the fact that I don’t have to figure that out right this second. We have some time.
At completely random intervals, you will demonstrate a skill that the teachers at your preschool taught you as soon as you joined their class. You will grab one of my hands with yours and say, smiling, “Nice to meet you.” Indeed it is, my dear. Thanks for coming. Let’s spend our next hour, year, decade, lifetime getting to know each other and ourselves like all get-out. And to seal the deal, here, pull my finger.