They skip ahead of me, as usual, half running, half jumping, singing “Last one to the bridge is a rotten, or in Rosalyn’s case, a “wotten” egg.”
Vivian runs fearlessly, straight on until morning, Ros, not so much, casting the odd glance backwards, looking for me, torn between grown up fun and the security of my hands. Eventually Vivian slows down for Ros to catch her, and they lean into each other. There are secrets there, which will only grow.
I have daughters.
They are sisters.
Lately, they are closer, by which I mean, conversely more enamoured and more irritated by each other. We walk up the trail, and they plot their “mission” together, covertly. We walk home, and Rosalyn is crying because Vivian won’t let her use her code name and it’s!not!fair!hmph! ~stompfeet~.
They grow closer each day, Rosalyn less and less and baby, Vivian more and more interested in her sister as someone to hang out with, someone who can play and laugh and sing with her. They have grown so over this summer. Vivian becoming this long limbed woman who I can see, ghostlike, hovering over her like a texture someone muddled together in a backroom. Her hair glitters in the sunlight, warm oak and pine, her eyes old already, her soul, muddled like buttered rum.
While Rosalyn has become sturdier, stronger, capable, at 4, of lifting a 12 pack of Coke off the shelf and on to the buggy, making it impossible for me to call her “baby” and mean it anymore. She twinkles, like a star, and sings her songs into the air like a memory. I keep thinking she’s this little creature, surprised when she follows instructions or grabs her own snack without asking me to help.
They become less my daughters, and more their sisters with each month that moves past us. I can’t keep up, the legs that spike, the ears that hear everything, the fingers which have lost their stubble, found their affinity for piano instead. I watch them, and realize that soon, they’ll know more about each other than I’ll know about them.
And dammit, if it isn’t sad, hitting me in the chest as the fall sun glows on their backs. This pure knowledge that they’re growing up, and past me, a breeze I cannot shutter indoors or let cool me. I feel like I can grab one of them, twirl them upside down, and shake out my babies, my long lost, unappreciated babies. Those which were mine.
I’m jealous. I’m jealous as all get out of the relationship that’s developing-the lying for each other, the happiness when Vivian walks in the door from school, the hugs, the sharing without asking, the compassion and love my girls have for one another. It’s lovely, and tugs at my eyes each day. I tear up at the hope and knowledge that this is who they’ll be 20 years from now, friends, co-conspirators. Hopeless without the other.
I’m prouder than I could ever say at the sight and sound of my daughters, hand in hand, walking away from me, giggles from their lips and eyes.