"Where's Na-Na"? Little A's head tipped sweetly to the side, her hands stretched out in front of her, palms up.
"She's at her Daddy's". And, as soon as I said it, I knew what was coming next. She's developing an immense vocabulary of late, primarily from mimicking every word that she hears.
"Daddy"? A question still, her head tipped, her hands out, reaching for an answer that I cannot give her.
I stopped putting my files in my briefcase and looked down at her; those blue, blue eyes taking in and questioning everything that I do nowadays, how small she looked, peering up at me, the wood floor beneath her feet, her pink toenails. All of it, a snapshot; a snapshot of things to come that I'm not prepared for.
I knelt down to her.
"You don't know that word, baby". I kissed her forehead and stood back up. It was 6:02 and I didn't have time to breakdown. I had to forge ahead, applying the salve of "Things That Must Be Done" over the gaping wound inside of me.
"Daddy. Daddy. Daddy" Again and again as she looked under the couch cushion, then meandered back to her toy chest and opened it, "Daddy"?
God. Damn. It.
What could I show her? What could I tell her? This word, so new to her, now an even greater curiosity because I had nothing to give to her or point at to demonstrate what she was saying.
She walked back to the kitchen where I stood, clutching the island, staring at the vase that my mother's mother had given her, trying not to think about family and legacy and the things that we keep, but thinking about it nonetheless, and she looked up at me, a purple plastic toy in her hand, "Daddy"?
"No, baby. That's not Daddy".
Just then my husky Simba came alongside her and licked her cheek, "Oh God. Oh God. Bimba. Oh God," her laughter escaping her as she tipped her head back.
Yes, Little A. Oh God.
Oh Dear God.