Adelaide was due on December 13th. The anniversary of Mike’s death. But she was taken early during a scheduled c-section. It was uneventful. Just like my pregnancy.
She nursed every three hours. I had to wake her to eat. She didn’t fuss or cry or whimper. She was the sweetest newborn to grace those birthing suites. As Dave slept, I nursed this amazing daughter of ours. All 8 pounds 8 ounces of her.
“Mommy’s going to teach you to play hopscotch. It’s the best game. I promise. When you fall down and rip your leggings, I won’t be upset at all. I’ll be asking if you made it with your stone! When your hand gets scraped up from the asphalt, I’ll kiss it. Then I’ll go back to cheering.”
We just passed the third anniversary of finding out it wasn’t a blessing that she was so compliant and slept so much. Three years ago, I wondered about hopscotch. At a time when they didn’t know if she woud walk or talk, I was thinking about that whispered conversation in a dark hospital room. Remembering her dark hair. I knew it was perfect for Autumnal winds. Carefree.
I was ten when hopscotch came in right behind reading and just above four square on my ‘favorite things’ list. I always started my games with a perfect ponytail. That’s how the 5th graders wore their hair. And we all wanted to be just like those older girls. There was no such thing as the messy bun. And I chose my outfits to accommodate the game.
By the end of recess, my hair was stuck to my face. Sweat and sand that had traveled from the swingsets to our painted squares was in every line of my palms. Legging knees ripped from getting to that pesky 9 square.
It didn’t matter what was going on in my life, hopscotch was a constant. I was good. And my lungs loved that burn from the crisp Colorado October wind.
My niece just turned 7. I bought her an indoor hopscotch mat. I taught her the rules and we played a couple rounds. She enjoyed it, but it didn’t convert her. She told me she plays at school sometimes. The twinkle was in her eye when she said, “I’m pretty good, even though I didn’t know the rules.” We played a few more rounds. My feet were too big. Her dress was too long. Adelaide was in a pack ‘n play watching cartoons.
“Aunt Lele, will Adelaide ever play hopscotch with us?”
“Of course! I’ll make really big squares for her wheelchair. We’ll use beanbags!”
It was my overly perky voice. The one I use when I’m uncomfortable. When I want to go hide for a bit.
Three years ago, I learned that my daughter may never play hopscotch.
Three years ago, I started a blog about our journey.
But instead of writing, I just want to go find the best rock and start on 1. I’m not really excelling at anything in my life right now, but I was still fierce at hopping. 32 years old and my game was actually better at a Frozen birthday party than it was in my youth. My limbs are significantly longer now. And my desire to feel my hair flying everywhere while I forget about all my struggles is tenfold.
And when I got to 10, and my niece clapped, Adelaide clapped, too. She loves to clap. She clapped and then cried for a bottle. I put my snowflake marker up and went to my mom’s kitchen. I poured milk into a ladybug bottle. Checked Adelaide’s diaper. And hopped back to 1 as fast as I could go.