This weekend, we had a lot going on. Family in town, Lulu's christening, the tail end of a fall clean... On Friday, I was sorting through baby clothes to send to Adrienne when I heard it. A small voice babbling, and then the babble resolving itself into two syllables that sent a jolt of recognition through me.
At first I thought it was a fluke, but Lulu did it again, haltingly, and then again, growing more confident each time.
Ma. Mamamama. Ma, ma.
I don't think she knew what she was saying. I don't think she was calling out to me or anything like that. Lu was playing with her toys, totally oblivious to me standing a foot away. But still, my heart was full. I'd dreamed my whole life of hearing some small creature say that word, and from the first moment I saw Lulu's face, when they handed her to me for that brief moment before taking her down to the NICU, I'd wondered how it would sound coming out of her own particular mouth. So when I finally did hear it, my eyes brimmed.
Not because of the word she'd chosen--well, not only because of that--but because it was the first real word she'd ever said, and when she said it, I couldn't help but think of all of the other words she'll say in her life. I like this. I want that. I love you. This word was the first in an impossibly long string.
I won't be privy to all the words she'll say in her life, but I was there to hear her first word. I was there at the start.
All weekend, as I cooked and cleaned and wrapped presents and laughed with friends and family, I kept hearing it, from across the room. Mama? Mama!
Each time, just in case, I called back, "Hi, baby. Mama's here."