Wednesday, May 27, 2009

big day

Delly hit a major milestone this weekend when she pooped on the potty for the first time. We were beyond thrilled. Josh and I both got tears in our eyes, and while Delly sat on the toilet, grinning from ear to ear and practically bursting with pride, we sang the Shehecheyanu. Josh said, "It's a red-letter day! May 23rd, mark the calendar!"

May 23, 2009. The 30th anniversary of my mother's death. Delma Elizabeth, for whom our own little Delma is named. It was a very bittersweet moment when I realized what day it was and what it meant.

Delly is finally figuring out what the relationships are in our family, that her grandparents are also Josh's and my parents. She likes to ask us about it. She and I were talking about it in the car one afternoon last week, and I was quizzing her. I asked, "Who is my daddy?" "Opi!" Then she paused and asked for the first time, "Who's your mom?"

It knocked the wind out of me, though I've been waiting for that question for some time now. It took me a moment to recover, and Delma was staring at me in the rearview mirror. Finally I answered, "My mom died."

"Why she died?" She was watching me like a hawk.

"I don't know why, honey."

The tone had become very somber, and Delma wasn't comfortable. Out of nowhere, in true Delma fashion, she started spazzing out, laughing and flailing her arms and wagging her tongue, and lightened the mood. She is most excellent at providing comic relief.

I don't know what she understands about death. She knows that flowers die and that bugs die. What that means in her squooshy little brain, and how that translates to people... Who knows. And I'm certainly not going to press the issue. But we are entering a new era, our first baby is not a baby anymore, and the questions are only going to get tougher. I just hope she always feels safe enough to ask.


LP said...

beautiful post.

Anonymous said...

H - Thank you for sharing this. I am so moved to see your love for your daughter and read how much your life had evolved since we used to hang out in New Haven. You're a really good writer. I'm very happy for you.

Love - Candace