She throws her arms around my neck and lifts her feet clean off the bathroom floor. And we nearly tumble in a heap of limbs and terrycloth.
I steady my balance with one slippery hand on the sink and curl toes to grip at something, anything for balance. But what? Slick tiles? A bathroom rug?
She’s not letting go, and she’s shaking with laughter, throwing her head back. Her arms hold me, hold time.
This is just a moment, slippery.
I want to stay steady. Right here. Long as I can. I keep toes curled. Because I’ll grasp for anything — even hard ground underfoot — to make the world stop spinning, just this once, instead of hurling us around at 1,038 miles per hour.
God made the sun stand still for Joshua . Would God bring this spinning rock to a creaking halt for me, too?
I let loose of the sink, grip her tight, and we’re on a ballroom dance floor. Lord, don’t let the song end. I turn circles, dizzy in love. Daughter’s limbs tether bodies. And I — toweled mama, crazily off-balance — can hardly hold on to it all.
I live half-afraid it will slip through curled toes.
She’s six now, and it won’t be long until I won’t be able to hold her like this. Before long, she won’t leap at me like that anyway. Sometimes, even now, she calls me “Mom” — not Mommy or Mama like she used to.
I steal my reflection in the bathroom mirror, and catch the wide smile, the wet hair flying. A little girl cheek, milky soft, presses against mine. Her whisper tickles my ear, “I love you, I love you, I love you…”
The mama face in the mirror, … is she crying?
And the little one won’t stop saying it now: “I love you, I love you, I love you.”
Her grip tightens, and then — Mwock, Mwock, Mwock — she kisses my salty cheek again and again.
I hold the moment tighter, and I don’t want this to end, and I beg her: “Never stop kissing your mama, OK?”
She stops, looks at me like I’ve just said the most absurd thing ever, rolls her eyes, and asks why would she stop loving me the way she does?
She scoots up higher on my waist and commands me: Dance, Mommy! (She calls me Mommy.)
So for now, we dance. Under a stopped sun, in time suspended, we dance.
Anna and her reflection, at kitchen window.