When M was born, her feet weren't even as long as my index finger. She was so tiny, so helpless that it was hard to imagine that she'd ever be any different. Today, her heel stretches all the way to the middle of my palm. M, my baby, isn't a baby at all anymore.
She's growing up so fast; it seems like her entire life is a headlong rush towards maturity. She's started going down the "big kid" slide at the playground, and she's started to try talking in sentences. She's forever trying out tricks to get her way, such as adding a hopeful "OK" to every request, as if hearing her say my usual affirmative response will prompt me to respond in kind. She's also pushing her boundaries -- she knows, for instance, that she may not touch the cat's food. Instead, she squats down next to it, stretches her hands out until she's within millimeters of touching, then looks up at me to see what I'll do. She can tell me what she wants to eat (lately, bananas. Every damn meal), and she answers "yes" and "no" questions. She eats with a fork and (less successfully) with a spoon. She demands that I sing to her, then names the song she wants. She wants to walk everywhere now, instead of being carried. Unless, of course, she doesn't want to walk where I'm leading her. For such situations, M has recently perfected the sit-down strike. If nothing else, I figure she has a real future in civil disobedience.
I look at M sometimes and I can hardly believe she came from me. Though I call myself "mommy," I don't feel like a mom. I'm just me, the same person I always was, just with a constant little companion. In a few months, I'll turn 32, and the fact that I'm in my 30s never fails to surprise me. Somehow, I thought that by the time I was this age, I'd have a good grasp on adulthood. But I still feel like I'm groping my way through this life, waiting to become an grownup. If graduating from law school, having a career, getting married, losing a parent, buying a house, selling a house, buying another house and having a baby didn't make me feel like an adult, I wonder what will. Getting grey hair? Buying Depends? who knows? Maybe I'll spend my whole life feeling like a 22-year-old. I guess there are worse things.