I thought I'd be too tapped out to write anything today--or anything in the slightest bit substantive, that is. This past week was a hectic, not-so-great week--you know the kind, where the fates seem to be conspiring against you from the minute your alarm goes off and you think--maybe I should just call it quits? Maybe stay hunkered down at home before something really crazy happens. But then, as with all bad weeks, the bad parts came to an end, and the good parts rushed in, so amazingly good that they swept away all the remains of the earlier parts of the week--the parts that made you want to ask the powers that be for a massive do-over.
On Thursday I made Easter sandwich rolls. (It's easy! I've recently discovered the joys of food coloring and cream cheese. You roll out a slice of sandwich bread, crusts cut off, with a rolling pin so that the bread gets paper thin. Then mix food coloring--I chose pink, yellow, and green--in with the cream cheese, spread it, roll up the bread jelly-roll style, and you have pretty, festive sandwich rolls.) And I baked sugar cookies for T.'s Easter party at preschool. Then L. (who is still on Spring Break) and I took them over to T.'s school and stayed for the Easter egg hunt.
It was completely fun, and the highlight of the morning for T. was a guest appearance by the Easter Bunny, who emerged, quite incongruously, from the building waving oversized paws and bunny hopping its way to the courtyard where the hunt was to take place. T. couldn't get enough of the bunny. She followed him (her? it?) everywhere, clung to his furry legs, and squatted in front of him gazing in rapture up at his oversized ears like some pint-sized Easter Bunny groupie. As I watched her little self so fearlessly interacting with the bunny and saw how, despite her tiny size, she managed to insert herself into a group of bigger kids and steal the show right out from under them, a mother turned to me and said: she's going to be a real leader someday, isn't she? And I realized, then, that I had always known T. would be T., that the imprint of her had been in the air long before her conception, and that I had known she would be an independent, self-assured, bighearted little girl who would, one day, steal everybody's heart and not bat an eyelid.
Once you have your children in your lives, you can't imagine not having had them at all. I mean, you can't imagine that they weren't intended for you all along, even before you hold them in your arms. Yet a part of you understands that if the timing of things had been just ever so slightly off somewhere along the way, then perhaps you wouldn't be holding that same child, but some other one--one you'd love just as much because, well, you wouldn't know about the other child. I always knew L. would be a boy and I always knew he would be sensitive and that I would see myself mirrored in him many times over, learning much about myself along the way. I also always knew my second child would be a girl, and that T. would be an independent spirit; full of self-assurance, able to hold her own, and thick-skinned enough to see the humorous side of life.
When I'm with the kids, I feel like I've been with them much longer than I really have; I especially feel this with T. I do feel as if we've know each other much longer than the 4 years and some months she's been out in the world--longer even than the 9 months I carried her. Love has a way of blurring the boundaries of time. When I first met Scott, I had that same feeling--that our love had stretched out before us long before our first meeting, and that it would stretch ahead of us long after. If, for many of us, our children are the perfect products of such love, then maybe we do carry the imprints of them inside and around ourselves in the weeks or months or years before they're born--gathering little images of who they will be; impressions that are at first shifting shapes glimpsed from the corners of our eyes, until that moment when we hold our children in our arms, look at them and think, Yes--I have always known you. You are just as I thought you'd be.