It is unexpectedly (at least to me) pouring rain as I write this morning, and so dark in the house I can hardly see. Oh, sweet mercies!!! I'm sitting in the studio, looking out into the garden, which, in spite of being sopping wet, still seems parched and yellow with defeat, my potted plants a sallow tangle on the steps. More than any particular date on the calendar, summer seems to turn from waxing to waning when the blossoms are spent and the soil runs just a bit too dry in my container plants, when I've missed one-too-many too-hot days of watering, when things go from lush to lank and I stand dumbly by, too air-conditioned and mommy-fried to make a move to rescue. It's a shame, really, this particular fulcrum up and over which I never quite seem to get, this see-saw that only sits, end planted in the dusty grass, me heavy upon it, praying for rain. Mid-July and me, both, stuck in the inertia of white-hot air. This morning — Hallelujah! — I get my wish, and wake to the sound of silver showers plinking and tapping, a cool breeze teasing my white curtains, Mimi in the bed between us, signing rain and wind. Ah, all my joys, all here, all here.
Our weekend was short and sweet (and hot). We got lots and lots of berries, explored a historic farm, stopped at the river, went to the pool, walked downtown. I made more fish, following Molly's lead in making stone-fruit salsa (I used peaches and a mango) and whipped cream for all of the sweetest-ever raspberries (I didn't know they could ever be that sweet actually — the sweetest I've ever had). We've eaten bags of Rainier cherries, boxes of blackberries and blue. This is the wonder of July, for me. The berries are insane. It takes only a minute to whip the cream and there you go, best treat ever.
Our girl glows like a peach, looking more and more like her gorgeous birthmama every day, her expressions and her sly humor and her independence blossoming like a summer flower. Her confidence, her seriousness, her curiosity, her kisses, and, more than anything, her loving sweetness, her gentle touch, patting her dolly's back, kissing her dolly, every toy, in fact, the cars and the books and the cups, patting my back, running the tippy-tips of her fingers lightly on my cheek, looking at me with her sparkling navy-blue eyes and her half-smile. Her burgeoning independence fascinates and delights me. She's quietly mischievous and blatantly (and hilariously) honest, alerting me to the fact that she's standing, belly-out, on the sofa, touching the hanging pendant lamp (no-no), holding the clicker (no-no), eyes always sparkling, daring me to see her though I'm sitting right there, and see her just fine. "Mommy?" Eyes wide. Touch touch, pendant lamp swings. Aw, no-no, baby I say with my "you know this" voice. "No-no," she mimics, signing no twice and raising eyebrows as if it were I who touched the lamp, dumped the mail, turned on the TV. When I got my new glasses she'd come toward me on the bed with such a look of love in her sparkly eyes, getting closer and closer, I'd be smiling hugely back, flattered, thrilled, then whoosh — she'd grab the glasses right off my face in a flash, with a smile. She brings me all the things she's not supposed to have: a rock in the house, a quarter, my wallet, a pencil. "Mommy?" Holding them out to me. Andy and I think she's very tongue-in-cheek in her photos, a little bit dramatic, a little ironic. I scoop her off the sofa and tip her backwards, bury my face in her belly as she laughs. Later, as she starts to nap, I strum the tender inside of her elbow and she answers with a milky chortle, and gently strokes the back of my hand with her fingertips. Our call and response. Every day she is unfolding. I watch and marvel, hardly able to speak, squeezing my lips to the back of her soft arm. This incredible person. This privilege. My stars, my stars. My cup runneth over. My heart overflows.