Last night E fell asleep in my arms. She'd stayed up late watching her movie. I agreed to read her two pages of her book, so we sat down in the reading chair, I read, and then she snuggled against me, and within a moment she was asleep. I held the warm weight of her, and then I fell asleep too, and awoke, and fell asleep, and after a while I carried her to bed.
E still fits just perfectly, just barely, in my lap. Sitting sideways, her bottom nestles against my legs, and her head comes right to my shoulder. As I held her, I remembered 9/11. In the morning, I watched the towers fall at work, and then I didn't watch any more TV till M went to bed. I had friends who couldn't turn it off, who watched all day with their small children, but I knew I didn't want M to see, so I held my curiosity, aside from whispered conversations with friends after school, at dance class, on the phone. When M, oblivious, finally went to bed, I turned on the TV and sat there, watching the ash in the dark, nursing E. After a while she fell asleep, as she did every night, nursing, but I couldn't put her down. I clutched the warm weight of her, tiny and solid in my arms, and cried for her future, and her sister's.
Now E is big and barely fits. M still climbs into my lap, and it's sweet and snuggly, but also awkward and gangly as her long legs spill over me and her arms loop around me. Soon I will have no small child of my own to hold, not till my grandchildren, and I won't be able to hold them late into the night.
E is sick today, so I borrowed a neighbor's jog stroller to take her out in the sunshine. She fit, barely, but she was so heavy. The stroller was just a tiny bit imbalanced, so it kept veering to the right, and I'd have to shift it over to the left to go straight. My arms got tired from the pushing.
I'm OK with being done with strollers.
[M is reading over my shoulder as I type. She asks if I'm going to include her calves in this post. Her calves ache, and I've been telling her they are growing pains. This post is about growing, she says, and her calves are growing. Sure, I say, I'll include them.]