I remember it so well, like it was yesterday, like it was this morning. Our front windows overlooked the athletic fields and tall trees of St. Scholastica, a venerable but now no more Catholic girls high school. It was rare to look out on greenery living in the city, so I always felt lucky that this view, this green, was ours.
I was a new mom, a working mom, a part-time working mom, and this moment was on a day that the world was working, but I was at home with my baby, my Donna. You were under a year, but soon to be an infant no more. Like me, you loved to look out the windows where the sun shone and the trees bloomed. They faced east and it was not yet noon, so the light was bright and warm. It made everything better.
I loved those mornings. We had walks and errands. We were newish to home ownership, just a few years in, so things like dish washers and washing machines were still new, still novel, still made me feel fancy and adult, accomplished.
That morning was for puttering. I cleaned and tidied, you played and explored. We ate our breakfast together. I probably made the beds and folded the laundry. That was before those things felt like burdens. Those things were still gifts to be cherished. They made me feel responsible and competent, satisfied and full. Life was lovely, full of love that I gave and received. Lovely.
You still had very little hair, but what you had was blonde and warm and held the promise of curls. Your eyes were bright blue almonds, your lips pink pillows. Your skin was so soft, still new, perfect. You were perfect, my Donna, and brought me such joy. You were the balm I never knew I needed.
I walked into the living room and the windows were open, the air flowing. You were standing on the bench, giving you height to see, that freedom to look at the world outside. Your tiny hands clasped the window sill and your chin was upturned and you were bliss personified. You welcomed that breeze, made it your friend, invited it into your home.
I admired how the sun shone on you, your shoulders bare, your tiny, fine, baby hair catching the light. I watched you bask in that sun and that breeze and that warmth and that light. I watched you and then I joined you, raising the window open higher — more breeze, more trees, more light.
I hovered over you, following your lead, closing my eyes, and taking it all in. I remember, Donna, just how lucky I felt in that moment. My chin resting on your head, the breeze, gentle and warm, blowing all around us. You smelled of baby shampoo and all good things.
The world stopped in that moment, for just an instant, enough for me to imprint it, to really be present, to feel its joy and overwhelming bounty. I was overcome with a sense of luck and gratitude — for you, for the breeze, for the sun, for being able to experience all of that with you.
How lucky we were, my girl. How lucky I am on this cold winter day, to remember. To have shared it with you. To have known that moment. To know it still.