Impossible. Time marches. So many of her growing years were spent in Charlotte, in a Dilworth bungalow that no longer exists: sold, torn down, and replaced by something grand.
She slept in the back bedroom, one window shaded by a Sasanqua Camelia and the other opening onto the Launt's backyard and a shared driveway. On her handed-down baby chest, there was a piggy bank. Her first word as she pointed was, "pig."
Her first birthday was spent in the hospital where I was on bed-rest and a heparin drip, 7 months pregnant with Clara. An unusual snow that week made travel difficult for Traylor, but we managed to eat birthday cake.
I see the two sisters happily toddling around in a shared room with white bunk-beds and a colorful play kitchen complete with an oven, a table for tea parties, and dozens of stuffed animals to feed. Caroline's favorite was a floppy monkey.
She was full of mischief and always a step ahead of my expectations. One ordinary morning as I was feeding Clara, I heard splashing in the bathroom and ran to find Caroline dipping her hair in the toilet and flinging the water up over her head in a perfect arc for a photographer, alarming for a mother. Then, one Easter, Caroline learned how to lock the bathroom door, but couldn't figure out how to unlock it. Traylor had to remove a glass pane and climb in through the window to get her out. That summer, she locked herself into a hot car with my keys, Clara and me on the outside in a gigantic parking lot.
Her eleventh birthday, she went on a field trip with her school class and came home to find a new puppy on her bed. She announced, "I didn't want a puppy." Comet lived up to her name by escaping and chasing everything including baby carriages and soccer balls on the school field until we finally gave her to someone who had 100 acres in the country.
When Caroline was a sensitive teenager, she invited some friends over for a birthday party and had fun preparing the snacks. But at the party, Traylor meaning to be funny, handed out "barf bags," saying that they might need these since Caroline had made the food. She has not recovered from this nor forgiven him to this day. Her own fierce-often base-humor may well be retaliation.
Just a few memories...
Since her 16th birthday, I probably don't know so much about how she has celebrated. She has a way of being her own person, and I might as well accept her as she is at 30! She has a nicely decorated condo of her own now, and she is a talented, accomplished and successful adult. Today, I celebrate her.
I know this one thing: I love her beyond even my own comprehension.
Blue eyes lost in music,
blond hair gliding back
and forth across a violin,
wrist rhythms flowing
into sound. Within
the euphony, my spirit
flies upward, awed.
Creation of flesh,
beauty into art,
one melodious song,
a harmony of the moment.
Let me cherish
the eternal dance
of this soul with mine.
©2002 Diana Renfro