Today 13 years ago my middle daughter was scooped out of the birthing pool water and placed into my arms. Outside the sun had recently risen and was casting long diffuse rectangles of light through the windows of our room. She opened her eyes and looked at me but didn’t breath. I wasn’t concerned because I could feel the cord pressed between our bodies still pulsing. She looked just exactly like a small pink M. At the same moment M. and I both turned to say so to each other and we laughed. I loved her instantly and wondered at her staring stillness as the midwife’s hands came snaking out to rub her and insist on that first breath.
As E. grew M. and I wondered at her self-possession. She worried us with the detachment she showed to doing things combined with an intensity in observing things. Because K. did everything early (she walked at 8 months) we were a little concerned when E. sat up but just seemed to want to sit and not move. When she would watch me finish a wooden puzzle with deep concentration but refuse to touch the pieces herself I worried what would happen with this beautiful, laughing, loving child who would sleep half the day and stare at us with great deliberation the other half. It was like having a baby look at you like they knew all your secrets.
One day like magic she had watched enough, took the puzzle from me and completed it perfectly first time. She stood up on furniture a little past a year old and was walking within two days. When she wanted to and had seen as much as she needed E. would, without fail, complete the task perfectly. She potty trained after one day out of nappies and was dry, day and night, from then on.
I am ashamed to say that this behavior seemed to me some sort of learning difficulty and that the thought concerned me. Until I saw her pattern of “wait, watch, do” for what it was
I thought she wouldn’t I worried that she couldn’t do. It took M and I literally years of watching her to understand E. better. To see that her patterns of learning were different to what we had seen before and to accept this as a wonderful quirk of her own unique self.
Now 13 years on I never stop wondering at E. She is highly sensitive to the world around her. She observes with a fine artistic eye and has an innate intuitive understanding of other’s emotions and motivations. She has a decidedly wicked dry sense of humor which is so fine tuned she has had adults doubled over with laughter since she was about 6 and started wielding it.
At every step I can’t help but feel privileged to know her. and I am so excited to think that I have the opportunity to be friends with the woman she will become.
Happy 13th Birthday Beautiful Girl.