To the woman standing out the front of the bakery, thank you. Thank you for your patience, your indulgence, your kind smile, as I stopped you to talk about your tiny baby.
I’m sure it happens all the time. You carry a tiny eleven day old baby around with you, and people are going to stop you I guess. I just never though it would be me.
I kind of feel like I owe you an explanation. You see, your baby, she has the same hair that mine did. Still does. Thick, dark and stands up of it’s own accord. She also shares the same big blue eyes, that seek to find yours, and seem to be able to peer well beyond your face and somewhere deep inside.
That very morning, I’d been flicking through old pictures, reminiscing and being all emo, because it was Poss’ 11th birthday, and that’s just what I find myself doing every time she does another trip around the sun.
That baby with the crazy spiky hair was staring back at me through the lens, and here she was again. Well, not really, but sort of. Kind of.
So thank you for your kindness as I told you about my once tiny baby, and not shying away from the clearly crazy lady who was taking your time at the bakery, when all you wanted to do was get bread.
Thank you for sharing a sliver of your story, how you also have an eleven year old, a boy, and what a wonderful age it was, how much we had to look forward to. How he has the same hair, the same bright blue eyes, that your new daughter has. How you’re so happy you went back and again, and added this little bundle of baby to your family.
We won’t be adding another one. We’re done. And all those days with tiny babies, with tiny toes and their tiny little fingers are well behind us. I wonder some days if I feel Poss’ growing older more keenly because she’s the only one. But then, I know that’s ridiculous; all parents feel that unique bittersweet loss of their children growing older.
I walked away feeling very old, like somewhere I had probably crossed one of those un-written, polite society lines, but your smile told me it was ok. That you somehow, understood.
When I went to Poss’ school later that afternoon, I watched out for the tall girl, with the crazy thick hair in the crowd. Surrounded by her friends, she stands well above most of them now, her hair sticking straight up, she’s easy to spot.
And despite the years, all eleven of them, those bright blue eyes still find mine, as she smiles and waves, before running over to greet me. She lets me wrap my arms around her, as we walk together across the school oval, not quite old enough to be totally embarrassed by me in front of her friends.
While I might not be able to carry her around with me anymore, and thankfully crazy strangers no longer stop me in the street, I think you were right. We have some amazing things to look forward to. And that’s enough for me.