Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Summer reruns

This weekend I washed and put away all of the girls' summer clothes. E's new wardrobe came from a combination of new items on hangers in her closet and the big bag of handmedowns collected from friends and marked "SUMMER 3T." L's came exclusively from a big bag of handmedowns. She inherits from her sister.

This bag, this season, particularly - L's new clothes were so evocative of the life they already draped once before. Maybe because that summer between age one and age two is when I first really understood E as not just a baby or as my daughter, my charge, but as a person. She talked that summer. She formed opinions and expressed disapproval and learned the first foundations of humor. She emerged from generic fat rolls and the smell of diaper cream - and really, we love them all, but aren't all babies to a degree interchangeable? - to be her. E.

I found the dress E wore to the petting zoo on the day my grandma, for whom L is partly named, died. That frock is tonight going in the giveaway pile on the front porch to be picked up by charity tomorrow because I don't want its tainted associations on L's silky belly. I found the outfit E wore on the day we took her to the Bronx Zoo, the day she pointed and yelled loudly enough for dozens of people to hear: Look! Camel POOPING! I found the shorts she wore the day after we moved the first piece of furniture into the newly finished basement and discovered just how exciting a very large cardboard box could be.

The metaphor usually tossed out (sing it, Disney) is The Circle of Life. Life isn't a circle, I think. It's a spiral, a snail shell, growing slowly on itself and outward. This spring is this spring and also the spring of last year and also the spring of 2007 when E was the age that L is now, and L was a kumquat tucked safely behind my belly button.

This picture, again, from this past Sunday:

And two pictures from May 25, 2007, when E was just two weeks older than L was on Sunday:

So this summer, in these clothes, under the spell of her sister's presence and the afterimage of her sister's once-was, L will become Somebody. What a thing to contemplate. Pin It