G a i l
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.