“Because it is very cold outside?”
“I enjoyed The Nutcracker.”
She speaks in sentences. Her eyes sparkle as they meet her sisters coming down the stairs. Her hair cascading in waves frame her tiny face. She holds a rag doll and is ready for school. On our drive she remarks on the bare trees, she calls out colors, she admonishes me if I drive fast. She walks into her classroom, owning that space, making me feel like an intruder. She dives right in, waving bye nonchalantly.
I return home, still feeling her presence. She has grown, this little one. She is eloquent. She is funny. She is demanding. She hogs the space around her. She smiles and lights up our world. She throws a magnificent tantrum. She is specific about the things she likes and hates. She has favorites. She is brave about staking claim. She is larger than life.
She loves her food. She hates me brushing her hair. She wants to do it all herself. She cries before her nap. She holds her bladder for an incredibly long time. She refuses to be potty trained. She loves sitting on my lap. She does homework with her sisters. She can sit through a movie. She knows the names of Disney characters. She loves her scepter. She identifies a few alphabets. She loves tapping on the keyboard. She prefers Grey’s Anatomy to Elena of Avalor.
She has grown, this little girl of mine.
In the minutes before she sleeps, her fingers curl around my ear lobe, her eyelashes flutter against my chin, her face is flushed with warmth as it grazes mine. We lie next to each other, so close that it is impossible to say where she ends and I begin. I listen to her breathe in, out, in, out and feel my breath slow to be in sync with her. There are no words, just an indescribable sense of connectedness as she eases into sleep and her fingers let go of my ear. I lie in the darkness trying to put in words the feelings that the moment evokes. The words float in nothingness, disappearing as sleep claims me.