". . . 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70!" Annie is counting beside me. She's discovered that she can count to seventy on her own and with a gentle reminder she pushes on to ninety. Her honey hair drapes across her forehead, cut straight, and covers her daddy's triangular eyebrows. Her blue eyes are so sparkly and full of life, glistening divinity and innocence. Tiny fingers graze my arm, inspecting the hairs with that intense curiosity I noticed fresh from womb. She embodies perfect imperfection. When I hold her I feel warm, nurturing, and feminine. Sometimes I snuggle her in her bed and she touches my cheek and plays with my hair. The room is silent and the air calm, as if time slows. Its magical and sacred. She holds a piece of my soul. Annie sees me with such intense understanding because she is me and I am her and the combination if the two of us in one.
Last night I listened the pounding of my heart and wondered why she cries in her sleep, why she sounds so tortured in a moment of what should be peace? I think about her perfect little soul in this horrible world. She asks me about bad guys, and I don't know what to say other than reassure her that she is safe. But it's one of those lies we must tell as parents, one of those burdens we carry until our children are old enough to share it. I cannot keep her safe always. She will fall off her bike, she will get water up her nose, and she will be hurt by others making poor choices. The best I can do is promise her that I will do my best, and pray the atonement makes up for the rest.