Monica Bielanko
That's What She Said
Just A Junk Drawer Dream
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I Want To Remember

My daughter presses her smooth forehead to mine and looks me in the eyes. We're so close together I go cross-eyed trying to maintain eye contact but I do it because it makes her smile.

Other times she'll be Maggie Simpsoning her pacifier, we catch eyes and she smiles at me. Not so much with her mouth, but her eyes crinkle at the corners and the dimple on her left cheek - about the only thing she inherited from me - pops into existence and winks at me.

"Mommy! Mommy!" She cries. This is my cue to shout "Boots!" It's something to do with that damn Dora The Explorer. As soon as I shout my part in this little play Violet runs into my arms, we hug tight and say "SQUEEEEEEZE". We recreate this cartoon scene several times a day.

Every morning I shout "TUB TIME". She repeats it as she runs down the hall and stands next to the tub as I jimmy the faucets into action. She waits patiently until I get the temperature just right and then holds out her arms so I can lower her into the water.

The child goes down for naps the minute I ask if she wants to lie down. She asks for her "kiki" (binky) and her blanky and then lies down on her little IKEA bed that I put together all by myself with a microscopic wrench that came with the boards and mattress we hauled home from the Swedish mecca. "Byyyyye." She waves from her little bed. "See you soon." Her sweet voice floats after me as I quietly pull the door closed. I pause and lean against the wall with my hand over my heart because it's almost too much, this little human being I call daughter.

This is our favorite phrase Violet says. "See you soon." Serge says he taught it to her but Diego (Dora's cousin) says it at the end of every episode and he seems a more likely candidate.

I can see the difference being at home all day makes in my daughter's life. She holds onto me, wants to be with me, will cuddle with me, sprinkles the word Mama liberally into her jibber-jabber, she comes to me when she is hurt.

The child has my heart in a death grip. Sometimes I watch her and I can hardly breathe I love her so much.