My daughter is now 7.5 months old. She is the oldest soul among us. Thomas and I had already sworn off Facebook posting about our private life with our new little family before she arrived last summer, and thus I only share little snippets of our life instead of photos of our baby. Much like our rebellion against the Costa Rican custom of piercing a baby girl’s ears when she is born, we have taken a different road with our daughter’s presence online. There’s a belief I have that when and if Amoryn would like to place her likeness on the internet, she will be able to do so when she is old enough to consent to it. She will be able to tell us that she wants to begin sharing pictures of herself, and until that time I believe I am doing a kind of favor to her by allowing her the choice, by foreclosing on the possibility that she might say, “I’m a teenager and I’ve been online since I was a baby. What you have shared of who I am and my life – I never agreed to this.”
It’s well enough for us that the people who care for and know Amoryn see her in our texts, emails and in person. We may be old-fashioned but we’re totally okay with it!
Here in Costa Rica, my parents are here escaping the 7 degree Maine winter. Tomorrow we go to a beachside place to celebrate their 46th wedding anniversary (married 1973 when they were 23 years old). They are turning seventy this year, both of them, and imminently retiring from their careers in the legal field. Much of our conversation centers around what will happen in the future: my dad’s writing project, my mother’s activism around legislating gun control, and their visits with their precious granddaughter.
She is my mom’s peanut butter. The coos, the sweet cuddles, the songs she sings, the games they play. This morning, I wrote about this while Thomas did his daily ritual of reading books in bed to our baby, giving me the most important personal gift of the time to drink coffee, sit and write by myself. While writing today, I was inspired with a poem to in some way encapsulate, or perhaps better said, to reflect on seeing my mother with Amoryn. It could not be more obvious to me the fleeting nature of today, when Amoryn is so young, only crawling, unable to stand or speak, but still a strong and vibrant communicator and presence. I see her grandparents with her now and imagine when Amoryn is my age. What will she remember of them? Will she know how she captivated, enthralled, charmed? Will she hear the songs my mom sings to her? Will she feel her embrace? Will she know the role my mother played in the world, how she created herself to be a strong and vibrant person too?
This poem is for the occasion:
Pink stripes, well-tailored
The shirt my mom wears as she holds my baby daughter
Whose fingers play at the pearly buttons
Bouncing held close on the knee along to the song
About tonight you belong to me
A happy cooing voice, babbling, belonging to them both and
I hope in a time far away when Amoryn stands in my shoes
My daughter will hear and know the tune
As the love song from her
Billie to little peanut butter