Location: St. Vincent & Grenadines

You were driving home in the dark on one glass-slippered heel, window sliced open and bathing in the snowliquor of the night air. We heard you singing, and couldn't bear to wake you.

14 September 2005

All hail what will be revealed today.

Allow me this moment of soapbox karaoke on behalf of Then back to your regularly scheduled My Life.

Senators, including moderate Republicans, are deciding whether they support a Katrina Commission modeled after the 9/11 Commission this week. We need a really big number of people to stand up and show support for the Katrina Commission. President Bush will address the nation about Hurricane Katrina on Thursday. We'll start delivering the petitions to Congress starting Friday morning so your senators and representatives will hear what you think the very next day. Please sign a petition supporting the creation of an independent commission.

Genevieve est incroyable.

She's fifteen and a half months old, walking and gabbling, singing and laughing. She says a very clear "Noooooo" now, complete with lateral headshake, and it's employed in context more than half the time. She's also got an occasional "Yeah", though it's nowhere near as popular as "Noooooo". There's "mamaMAmaMA!" when Marla's in the shower and "yumyum" at dinnertime. She knows the sign language for "more" and "all done".

Last week we were in the living room and I growled "Milk in the batter! Milk in the batter! We bake cake and nothing's the matter!" in my best Tom-Waits-in-Cookie-Monster-mode voice. Genevieve got up and walked across the house to her bedroom and got In the Night Kitchen and brought it back to me.

Maybe that doesn't sound like much. And it wouldn't be very much for you or me. But I've known Genevieve all her life, ever since she first breathed air and I said "it's a girl", and let me tell you: she has come a long way. She used to be a stationary thing, all gums and observation, and now she's movable legs and opposable thumbs and syllables and abstract thought.

For me, it's enormous that after 1.25 years in the world, she can connect the sound of my voice with a particular memory of us reading, connect that memory with the memory of where the book is, decide she wants to read again, move independently on two feet through three rooms and around a corner to find the book, grasp, lift, and hold the book, and bring it back to me.

I love that I get to witness this. It's like my infant self is hovering in my peripheral vision when I look at her -- I can't see myself directly, but I know I'm there. I get a glimpse of recognition of all the things I had to forget to grow up.

Ever since I can remember, I wanted to remember everything. I wanted to know what happened before my earliest memory, all the real that no one could tell me because they'd all forgotten, too. I was outraged by this uncontrollable fading of self that happened without permission. It felt like a theft. But I made my peace with it, as best I could, and compromised with the world enough to live in it by most of the usual rules. Like the rule about letting go of the past.

And now I'm thirty, about to turn thirty-one, looking at my daughter the way she looks at the windchimes hanging from the tree in the yard. I think I know what you are. You seem so familiar. I think I speak your language. I think I know you.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Genevieve is clearly a genius.

6:59 AM  

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