The CD the girls usually listen to at bedtime was getting scratched and starting to skip, which I discovered is less conducive to sleep than no music at all, so I made them a new one, with new songs. Well, not new songs, actually old songs – ones we’ve been listening to since Julia was a baby – but songs that weren’t on the old CD. We’ve been playing it at bedtime about a week – long enough for me to know that they’re pretty much asleep by track seven and it’s safe to slip out by track eight. But last night, I lingered.
I sat in the dark on the floor of the their bedroom with my baby, my last baby, at my breast, and I couldn’t help but look at my biggest girl under the glow of the nightlight and marvel and remember.
I Don’t Want to Live on the Moon. I see her through the rear-view mirror, asleep in her car seat on the way home from Kindermusik. Phoebe is sleeping in the Wiggles nightgown Julia used to wear then.
Now, we argue about her bangs. (She refuses to have them cut.) She picks out her own clothes. I don’t have to tell her to do her homework or practice piano, anymore – she does it on her own.
She helps Phoebe get dressed in the mornings. She’s changed her diaper, washed her hair, and made her breakfast. She gives her piggyback rides. She can buckle her into her car seat.
When Lucy was nervous about her t-ball scrimmage – you know, the one I missed – Julia took a pen and wrote Bear on the palm of Lucy’s hand. “When you’re feeling scared, just look at your hand and remember, you’re a BEAR. You’re big, strong, and fast. You can do anything!” And Dave said that Lucy did, on her way to second base. She stopped and looked down at that hand, then kept on trucking.
Julia will be nine in two months. The time she’ll be likely be living under my roof is half over. So when the CD was through, I stayed just to be where she is a little longer.