Mon 12 Jan 2009
they are getting bigger.
nothing odd in this and really, it shouldn’t come as news. they’re children. the job of children appears to be to grow (or to clutter one’s household, interrupt one’s sleep, and use up one’s extra income that one otherwise wasn’t sure what to do with. either way). but it feels as if since Josephine came along, the two of them have ganged up together and are riding time like a carnival pony, spanking its ass to go faster! and faster! until i expect to turn my head one day and catch them making off with my car keys.
Posey was four months old Saturday, all intense and rosy-cheeked and enamoured with her fingers. Oscar got his first big boy salon haircut that same morning, courtesy of a stylist friend of my sister’s he’d met last month and liked enough that the idea of going to see her outweighed his otherwise paroxysmal fear of haircuts, which i think he inherited from his father.
i took his picture in the lobby of the salon, while we waited, and i got this face.
then the magical hairdresser propped him up on a padded board stretched over the arms of the barber’s chair and draped the cape around his neck and suddenly, there scratching at the back of my brain was a beauty parlour and a big plank across a seafoam vinyl chair and the acetone smell of hairspray in a big gilt can. memory tickled the nape of my neck and i was the little kid with my legs sticking straight out under my cape. i had forgotten…but when it all came back it felt like yesterday and i was shocked to count what must be thirty-odd years between then and now. i scoured the traces of that memory for specifics…who brought me? where were we? what polyester confection was i wearing? but those are gone, just as Saturday is already mostly gone for O except for the pictures. the battle that was haircuts is over, for him, and now we are on to whether naps are really necessary and a hundred other big boy things and is Josephine big enough yet to have a cookie and shouldn’t he have hers instead and really, won’t he always get more cookies anyway?
when he was a baby i’d gaze dotingly upon him, memorizing the fleeting infant face, the curve of chubby cheek, the down of what i desperately hoped would someday become eyebrows. and in moments, sometimes, i’d be sure i’d seen through time, caught a glimpse of the adult face that would someday emerge from the bundle i cradled.
watching the curve of his head emerge, though, from his clipped curls on Saturday, i realized that i was wrong, then. in the baby face i hadn’t seen the man inside the boy, only my own daydreaming and playacting and projecting, like when he gets jealous over a cookie his sister cannot even eat yet, learning what it is to be a sibling as i was learning to be a mother. but the babyface still evident even in the lengthening bones of his big boy frown? like a tickle on the nape of my neck and a beauty parlour probably long since torn down, it sits, tucked away in the vault of memory, called up by the twist of a grin or a particular raise of an eyebrow……it will be my babies i catch sight of in the faces of my children, no matter how big they get. and i will be shocked, every time, i think, to count how far away yesterday has gotten, how fast.