It isn't fake. It isn't shy or timid. It is heavy and sweet and pure. I have a crush on my children. They move around me, gravitating to my side and there is a lightness to the tether between us that isn't like what I remember.
The oldest is full of words. Full of words bursting out of perfect lips and sea green eyes and peach fuzz ears. Her words are true and she is strong. She is everything good I never was. She is the potential. Beautiful and vain, she dances on the ocean now and loves wisely. I am better for knowing her.
The middle girl is full of joy and exploration. A follower of rules and loyal too. Her father's girl. She is careful with her love. She is quiet when quiet is necessary. She is a good friend and natural nurturer. Recently she lost two teeth. She danced away from me tonight in IKEA... she was spinning up ahead, perhaps ten feet away and yet a world gone. She will be the one to dance away from me someday. I don't remember when she left the sling. It seems so strange to see her now, my dark changeling, dancing ahead of me with two teeth gone and a world of opportunity ahead of her. It is so hard to let them go... especially when we provide the platform for their flight.
And then there is the baby. Mostly made of me, but with her father's eyes. Tyrannical and abusive, she makes us laugh. I don't miss her yet. She is still too little to miss. Like an arm or a leg she extends out from me and we breathe in tandem. I don't have to wonder where she is. Not like with the other two. I fully understand that they are mine, but where did the little versions go?
In the corner of my eye I can see them. The oldest is still running in Wooster square with cherry blossoms in her hair and she is demanding, at three years old, that I call her Feline, which is not her name. Where is she? She is hiding, she must be hiding from me.
And the middle girl...she walked early and talked late. I was in Jamaica when she took her first steps. And then she wouldn't stop running. But when she was tired, her little body would find mine and curve into me and her babiness was a solid thing. Or so I thought. It turns out that her littleness is as fleeting as the rest. Where is she? I lost her on the playground. One moment she was struggling to climb up the slide the wrong way, the next she is triumphant on top and her legs are so long, and she's left her toddler self behind.
And this is why it is more than love. This is why it is a crush. The crush of loss and gain and win and lose. The crush of missing them at the same time as yearning to see their lives unfold. This is how it is supposed to be. They end up the guardians of their smaller selves, and if we are lucky, they might let us visit with them once in a while, late at night, when it is important for a big girl to feel like she can be a little girl again.
My girls. There is nothing extraordinary about any of them. I have not one genius or prodigy. There is no ballerina, no concert pianist, no early reader. But they are good girls, kind to one another and kind to me. And the amazing part is that I get to borrow them from the world for a little while, these princesses of Morris Cove. What a lucky world it is, to have such fine young women in it.