On the occasion of my sweet goon’s 8th birthday. When I tell people how old you are, the words form and tumble out, but my brain can’t fathom the time gone already.
You were hauled into this world, into my arms, into my exploding heart at 6:45AM on September 28th. I didn’t have the chance to look outside the windows, but surely the whole world had stopped for just a second, closed their eyes, then exhaled with great gusts of relief to honour the moment you became our Stella Belle.
I know this isn’t true. The leaves on the uneven path outside, brown and burgundy and curled softly at the edges, crunched and split under hurried people’s boots. The smell of warm farty cafeteria eggs sidled down the hospital hall. Nurses rushed on soft soles and gloves were snapped on and off.
And machines beeped.
And blood dripped off forceps.
And a wriggly warm girl was placed on my chest.
I had no feeling below my belly button, but the moment your weight was out of me and then on me, I wasn’t a bones and blood woman. I was just made of love and wonder, not aware of anything at all other than your eyes, wide, black as ink, and hypnotic and new, but instantly familiar.
Somehow you are eight now. 8.
And you have so much, more than you need, more than you remember, tiny things that get lost, big things that get shoved under bigger things, books that wobble off shelves, necklaces that tangle amongst themselves, and a closet that reveals party dresses for every night of the week. So what to get a girl that doesn't need anything but is my everything?
This star map is for you, on your 8th birthday, to honour the sky that sheltered all of us the night you lay screaming, having shit so powerfully the hospital cloth diaper had no chance.
I hobbled back and forth from the sink to your kick kick kicking legs, convinced you were going to die from poop being inside your umbilical cord, and of course my child would die a poop-related death because I always found fart jokes so hilarious.
After what seemed like an eternity, you were clean and swaddled and your screams immediately ceased as soon as I picked you up.
We settled into a broken couch under the windows so I could remind myself that even if everything inside this room felt absurd and upside down and fragile, there was still wind shaking the hunched trees, and hurrying clouds along the horizon. The sun still set and the moon glowed hello, and the stars popped out to welcome you home.
I had all of this to feast my eyes on, but there was no looking away from you. Your smell, your head, your hilariously hairy earlobes, I couldn’t get enough. My eyes hadn’t eaten in a hundred years and you were an exquisite buffet.
You still are. All legs and arms and hairy kneecaps and opinions and jumbled teeth and pigtails and laughter and tears and yelps and triumph and imagination and candy and curiosity. And oh how you love fart jokes too.
This star map is for you but also me, to remind me of the sky that sat above us eight years ago, eternal and mysterious and vast, just exactly like the love I have for you.