Mia is telling a story and it goes like this:
"Ryan is the fastest boy in first grade -- except maybe for Enoch -- and he can never catch me! He chases me EVERY day, mom, but I'm faster than him and I keep getting away. He can get thisclose, and I zoom away. I don't want him to catch me! But I do like being chased. It's so exciting! And sometimes, he gets his whole TEAM of boys to chase me and then I get a little bit scared but it's still so much fun! I always, always have to wear my fastest running shoes to school, okay mom? The more I run, the faster I can get!"
And I look at her like, who are you? You're getting chased? By boys? And you LIKE it?
It boggles. She is so different than I am, top to toe. She is graceful and free-flowing. I lurch and stub. She is excited and ready. I am standoffish and halting. If she came from my body, it was only because she was planted there by somebody who is better than me.
I look at her and I cannot breathe. It's not beauty, necessarily, although she is stunning. It is everything; her particles and cells and motion and air displacement are magical to me. You can toss your explanations in here any time: my hormones or my mother's heart force me into irrational, spewing adoration. Seeing my first mirror image growing into herself is intoxicating, though, and I don't care to explain it away.
We have a staring contest on a regular basis. Mia sits within a foot of my face, and we trade stares for as long as we can manage. It's tricky the first couple of times to make sure she wins, because I want the game to continue. She masks her face into an unsmiling seriousness: the better to win. I relax my cheeks and get down to business. I want to fall into her eyes and live there for a few minutes, a few decades.
Her eyes are exactly the same color as mine. Grey-blue and marbled. Rich and deep at sunrise, icy and thin at dusk. In there somewhere is a fully-formed soul, and it is hers alone, but I reach for it.
While I watch, her pupils grow and melt into her irises. I feel swallowed whole.
To say I am thankful for my daughter feels silly. It isn't the whole truth. It would be better to say that I am completely consumed by gratitude for her place in this world. I fall apart at the generosity of her life. The fact of her presence. The truth of her heart. The sound of her laughter. The challenges of her being my first attempt at mothering. The strength of her legs. The scope of her mind. The curl of her body into my own as I sing her a song before bed. The sweetness of her spirit.
But pared down to its most basic meaning, yes: I am thankful for Mia.
We're gathering our harvest of blessings and naming them one by one, sharing the gratitude in our hearts every Thursday through the end of November. Won't you join us today at Jade's place? Share a picture, words, creation, or list; just come to the table with thanksgiving in your heart.