I was flipping through pictures on the camera, looking to delete some unnecessary shots to make room on the card, and there I was, pregnant with Kathleen.
There she was being lifted from my body but still attached,
tucked on my chest with her feet practically in her mouth,
bundled up to go home for the first time,
practicing lifting her head in tummy time,
enjoying her bath in front of the mirror,
seeing the lilacs bloom
and the rhododendrons.
There she is sitting in a chair by herself, so proud,
at the beach on 4th of July,
on the see-saw with me on vacation,
in the lake, in a backpack,
as a cat on Halloween,
in the Pilgrim parade on Thanksgiving,
holding Henry's cardinal for our Christmas card.
There she is cake on her face, one year old!
How did we get here?
Sunday, she was taking tentative half-steps between ottoman and chair.
Monday, two steps toward me in the afternoon, three in a row that evening.
Tuesday, she took a break.
Today, she is fearless, taking four, five steps, a couple of shuffling sideways steps, before BOOM!
There is still a momentary pause before she goes, as she looks and sizes up how to get from here to there. Then she goes for it, smiling and laughing as she collapses into one of our laps.
Soon she'll just go, no thought, no wondering how to get from here to there. And I will try to stay in the present, but part of me will look back and wonder how we got from there to here, because I can't believe we are here already, that we did all this in just over a year.
And as I write this, I pause and start to make connections to the milestones missed, to the steps that will never be taken, but I stop, because this is Kathleen's moment and because everything, it seems, can tie back to Henry or to grieving or to sadness or to what is not, but right now, like the day when I danced with Kathleen, I just want to feel the joy. I want to feel the wonder and the awe, and I can.