G a i l

Age 1

1 year, 4 months (January)

There are people whom I never want to leave.  They’re mine, and I’m theirs.  The first is “Ma-ma.” She’s my star.  The second is “Da-da.” He makes me smile when he lifts me up into the air.  The third is “Jo-jo.”  He usually hurries by me, but sometimes, he comes and plays.  Lately, I’ve been trying to follow him wherever he goes.  I have become fast on my hands and knees.  Jojo runs, and I chase.

Sometimes, Dada takes me and sets me up on my feet.  He holds onto me, and I try to move forward.  My legs are so shaky!  But I feel them gaining strength each time I try.  I never give up, even when I get tired.  I don’t cry when I stumble or fall.  I just try again.  I focus my eyes and think of only one thing: moving forward.

I also love climbing.  Wherever I am and whatever is happening, if there’s a place where I can climb, that’s what I do!  Even if the best things are happening – if Mama is feeding me, Dada is tickling me, or Jojo is running past me – I’d rather climb.

One thing I don’t like is seeing new faces.  If there’s a face that isn’t Mama’s, Dada’s, or Jojo’s, I first look, but then I quickly hide, burying my face in any familiar neck or arm.

I get scared when I can’t find Mama.  Once I was busy chasing Jojo.  He was wearing a yellow shirt and running.  I thought of nothing but following the yellow shirt.  With all my might, I powered forward on my hands and knees.  Even though I was focused on the yellow shirt, I thought Mama was there, watching me.  After catching Jojo – like I always did – and he tumbled to the floor next to me, I looked around to make sure Mama had seen how fast I’d been.

But she wasn’t there.  She wasn’t anywhere.

Something fearsome crept up inside of me like a mad dog and growled at me.  I needed Mama, but she wasn’t there.  I didn’t cry – yet.  I left Jojo and went crawling to find her.  No Mama.  I crawled some more, looked some more, tried my best to find her.  But all there was, was a quietness that made my breath get faster and my heart start to hurt.  I hurried on my hands and knees, and then something broke loose.  The mad-dog-fear inside took over.  I screamed.  Suddenly, I heard footsteps.  It was Jojo.  He came to me and hugged me with his small arms.  I wanted to stop screaming, but I couldn’t. 

I stayed on the floor for a long time, and Jojo didn’t leave me. I got tired of crying and drifted off.

When I woke up, I was in my bed, and Mama was opening the window, letting morning light in.  I looked at her dark form and worried that she might disappear again.