6.10.2012

On My Daughter’s First Birthday


Turning at 23 degrees, the earth has made one complete revolution
arriving back to the point of its beginning. Some things look the same:
lush green leaves, the orange  lilies--though aren’t they taller this year?
Some things we know have changed. It is warmer. New babies
take the place of the grandparents we’ve said good bye to.  I sigh.
Today though, as the earth rotates eastward, I am unilaterally focused
on one change--you, my daughter,  walking across the garden bringing
me a marigold. My breath catches in my throat. I stop frosting your cake
and swoop you up in my arms. We watch the clouds move across the sky.
I know that actually we are moving beneath them, navigating this celestial
sphere together as we hold hands and feed each other strawberries.

You have been alive for nearly 525,600 hours.  How many of those hours
have I spent watching you sleep? Tiptoeing into your room at night, listening
for the rise and fall of your chest, listening so intently that my own chest
rises and falls to your rhythm as we make our way across the plane of the solar system.
Outside your window the stars fade to dawn. You wake and it is your birthday.
I kiss your dimples and dress you in eyelet and affection. You plop down in the dirt
in your party dress and pat the impatients. I bend down to your size and we watch
a caterpillar scurry across the deck.  He tucks himself into a crevice of space
we had never noticed. I kiss your sun-warmed head. You smell of earth and flowers. 

Our guests arrive and take turns kissing your sticky strawberry cheeks.
We sing to you and you laugh. Afternoon slips over your shoulders like a jacket.
The flat late line from the sun to your dress casts a delightful long shadow
for you to dance with swaying side to side kissing foot to foot.
After your party you and I rock together on the porch swing. It is late,
you are almost asleep. In between mini-dreams and memories we
both look up at the sky.  It is impossible not to think about this moment
last year, the moment you went from being an abstract hope
to our warm, tangible, glowing, daughter. The heavens are full of miracles. 

A star is born of hydrogen and helium, its own gravitational pull causes
it to collapse. It becomes smaller and smaller as it spins like a child playing
in the garden. And then in a violent moment of creation the heat and pressure
fuse together, igniting.  I rub your nose with my nose as we swing up
off a spinning earth and back down again.  We look up together and wish
on a sparkly speck of light.  I hold you close familiar with your particular heat
and weight.  You nuzzle my neck, sleep murmuring in a dream.
After all the stars have come out, we carry you inside. You are now fast asleep.
We tuck you in, whispering quiet birthday wishes in your ear. 

--Kathryn Fishman-Weaver
June 10th, 2012

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