I remember you lying prone on the wheat-colored couch, your belly a mountain as high as my head.
You guided my hand to the towering curve and held it pressed there. We waited.
Then–there it was! Something jerked and rolled under my fingertips and I looked up at you with eyes that must have been wide and startled because you laughed. “That’s the baby! Did you feel it?”
We talked and sang to the baby through your belly-button, and you struggled a little more each day to fit me on your disappearing lap. At the time, “baby” was merely a concept, a cute bundle in a picture book that you read to me at night. I had no idea that “baby” meant family as real as you and Daddy, that the tiny person jabbing from the inside would be at times my fiercest enemy and my dearest friend.
Now my own child fills the space under my ribs in a perfect half-moon, and he shifts against my skin with surprising strength. Just yesterday, we were sitting in a meeting and the co-workers around me were giggling silently and pointing as my belly jerked and quivered sporadically.
When I press my hand against his hard edges I am flooded through with emotion so big and multi-faceted that pinning it down with words feels like trying to measure the sea with a teaspoon.
Mom, I think of you on the couch that day with your belly mountain. I remember how the tiny flutters under my fingers barely hinted at the huge, complex personhood of the sister I now have, and I wonder: Who will this new man-child be? What will stir his passions? What will make him laugh?
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