Thursday, April 24, 2008


Dear Zoey,
Two years ago today you were born. On April 24th at 10:52am my life became distinctly divided into a Before and After and everything I ever thought I knew about the world was replaced with you. Love and family, myself, grocery shopping, things that I once thought were as solid as The Pythagorean Theory slipped out of my hands and into yours. After you were born the world was forever changed, new. a² + b² = 10:53am. April 24, 2006. You became my hypotenuse, the longest side of the triangle that is you, Daddy and me. This from your mother who got a C- in geometry from a teacher who was too kind or too lazy to give me the D that I deserved.
One year ago today I was flying off on a work trip. Around the world in 8 days: China, Thailand, India, Germany. Around the world from you who had become the center of my universe and on your first birthday no less. To say I was Zoey-lagged is an understatement. Without the longest side of my triangle I walked on stilts, halting, awkward, the only safety in motion. I would call you and Daddy at midnight from Hong Kong, calling from the future really, the same day but 16 hours ahead. You would just be waking up and Daddy would put the phone to your ear and I would be lucky if I could hear your heavy one-year-old breath. Feeling ridiculous with my high pitched mommy voice telling you that I loved you, that I missed you, singing you Twinkle Twinkle Little Star from a vast hotel room on the other side of the globe, with the bright neon lights of Hong Kong playing off the harbor view outside my window. The world was indifferent to my everything.
And now we are here and you are two and nothing could have prepared me for today. I am at home and you are at daycare; soon I will come bring you cupcakes. At two you like to get close to my face and laugh into my mouth. You push your small fingers into my eyes and sing songs about words I had no idea you knew. The other night after Daddy and I put you to bed we could hear you in there making the sounds of an exaggerated snore followed by long whistles of deep sleep exhales. We stood in your doorway laughing and when you finally saw us you sat up and said "I'm sleeping!" Indignant and funny. Perfectly two.
The past month has been really hard for me, battling panic attacks and getting laid off. I am no longer in a strange room in Hong Kong but at times the world still seems indifferent. I am scared. I feel used and tossed aside, worthless, confused, free and happy and scared. Did I say scared? Because yeah, I'm scared. A few weeks ago in the midst of one of the worst bouts of panic I have ever had I called my mom. It was 11pm. You and Daddy were asleep and I took the phone into the living room, crying and shaking, my limbs hot and prickly with fear. Mommy? I said. Mommy? I had not called my mom Mommy since I don't know when but it was the only thing I could get out of my mouth. I could not breathe but I managed to call my Mommy.
I don't know where we will be one year from now on your third birthday. But I do know that I will love you. Because even though the world at times seems detached I am not, never will be. I am your mommy, forever attached, forever standing just outside your doorway to listen as you sleep whether you're faking it or not. One year from now, eighteen years from today, when you, too, are thirty-five, please know that everyone gets scared, that sometimes the angles don't seem to add up, and when they don't I will always be here for you, to prop you back up, to hold this triangle right. I am your mommy. Call me.
Happy Birthday Petunia Face.

1 comment:

krista said...

mother effer. i am bawling. how is it possible to be enough for our babies? i just don't know. i feel so overwhelmed with the responsibility of being a mother to my daughter and utterly certain that no one could love her like i love her, no one could possibly hold this much love in their ribcage without breaking something. i want her to nestle back inside the bones protecting organs and stay there until i tell her it's safe to come out. but she knows i never would, i would keep her there forever.