Tonight, as I lingered on the sofa after the show** Patience and Persistence put on, Persistence returned, still in her costume, and climbed up next to me.
She curled up in my right arm, and sat, still and quiet. More still and quiet than she ever is, really, even when sleeping---where she is as active as she is when awake: tossing, turning, flipping, making noise.
We sat that way for a while, neither of us in any hurry to go or do.
Patience played a room away, probably relieved to be on her own for a bit, able to run everything just as she likes it, without any interference.
And so we sat, Persistence and I, curled alongside one another on the sofa, breathing slowly and deeply, enjoying the simple presence of the other...appreciating a moment with no testing, no confirming, no pushing or pulling.
I felt her shoulder blades pressing against my arm, bony yet solid...and I thought how like a child she has become over the last six months. I rubbed her legs, long and skinny, yet strong and able to leap a dog bed in a single bound.
I caressed her cheek, round and soft.
And I wondered how it must be to live as she does, able to make out only a little of a world she so desperately needs to make sense of, but still knowing so much more than even three months ago. I wondered how it must be to live poised between babyhood and childhood, knowing so clearly what she wants to do but frustrated by so many limitations...and surrounded by those so much more capable, so far, than she is, yet.
In a rush I understood. I understood exactly how it feels to know how far you've come but how far you've got to go. I understood how it feels to be so focused on what you want to be able to do that you forget how much you can do, and do. I understood how it feels to be torn among roles and places in life.
I hugged her body---so little still yet so big already---a little tighter for a second.
Without a word, she knew. She understood and felt my empathy.
A second later, she reached up and patted my cheek then looped her little arms around my neck, and said, "My mommy."
We sat that way, together---still and quiet on the sofa, silent in our room, soft sounds of Patience's creative play drifting in from the other room---for a while longer, neither of us in any hurry to go and do.
* Title from a line in the poem April by William Carlos Williams.
** A real show, like a little play. They love to do this. It's mostly what I might call lyrical dance or interpretative dance, rather than something off the pages of Coward or Moliere, but entertaining nonetheless. I just wanted to be clear that show wasn't a euphemism for naughtiness, as might be assumed from my posts recently.
Copyright 2007 Julie Pippert
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