The Expanding Universe

When I remember Lu's tiny babyhood, the recollections have a glow around them. Perhaps the glow of all the late-night television I watched while I nursed and paced and nursed and paced. Or the fog of not enough sleep. Whatever light I cast those memories in, they contain just the two of us: a newborn baby and newborn mama learning how to be in the world.

She is two now, and her world is way bigger than just me. She told me today in the car on the way to school, "I love my friends, Mama," then named all these strangers, the first of so many she will know and love beyond me. I had a sad, territorial feeling about it. The kind of feeling that makes mommies into weird and smothering creatures who need to be discussed in therapy.

The realization that she had "friends" was nothing compared to the total rejection I'd been experiencing over the past few weeks when she ONLY wanted Jason. I picked her up at school one day last week and she greeted me with, "I need my dad." She was not even content to let me make her cereal, the ingrateful little Electra. I pushed you out of my vagina...for this kind of treatment?

After a weekend away snowboarding, I am back in her favor. Me and broccoli. Last night, while Jason was working late, I fed her and got her ready for bed without so much as a mention of Dad. She snuggled onto my lap while we read Babar's Museum of Art, which has all these funny reproductions of major works of art featuring elephants instead of people. She pointed to the elephant version of Mary Cassatt's "Mother and Child" and said, "That's a baby and a mama." Then she lay her head on my chest and, thumb in mouth, said, "You're my mama." And the big cosmic view narrowed to our little world. A baby and a mama, if just for the moment.