My friend Josh asked me how it’s going today, in such a way that he truly wanted to know. I shared that, I don’t know Celeste, my four-month-old daughter. I don’t know her and she doesn’t know me. And yet of all the billions of people in the world, it’s me who knows her best. And yet, it doesn’t add up. Because how can anyone truly know someone else. I’m constantly surprised at the most important people in my life.
Because, I look at her. I’ve never consistently been so close to someone’s face so much. Never been such a student of someone’s face so much that I could describe it to a sketch artist. Her skin is so new, up close it’s like an airbrush of fresh, rose and ivory. The round apples of her cheeks, the two even dimples in her chin and the way her eyes fold into half moons when she smiles, the slight upturned angle of her mouth, her pursed lips, the crystal blue inner ring of her Iris, the Gerber swirl of hair at the front of her head, her softspot showing her beating heart, the birthmark stork bite on her eyelid, the clump of her long left eyelashes that get so sticky that they sometimes attach to her brow bone during a nap.
And even despite all that – putting it aside – I don’t know who she is or who she is becoming.
Well, Josh said, you might know her more than you think you do. Tell me who you think she is, what her personality is, how she shows up in the world. Write it down, tuck it away, and you’ll find it in several years and either be wrong. But I bet you’re more likely be right.
But, I wonder aloud, is that me projecting onto her? Or putting her into one box or another Doesn’t she have a say in the matter?
Of course. But you’ll see, he said, that she has always been who she’ll always be. It takes the pressure off of parenting a bit, right? Just go with it for awhile.
I think aloud…she’s observant, quiet yet lets me know what her needs are when she has them. She doesn’t suffer fools, her goofiness and lightness take an amount of work. And she’s determined.
That’s as far as I get. So here I am. This is me writing this down. An answer, no, more like a mere idea, about someone who is 112 days old.
I won’t hold her to it.