Yesterday, as I had previously promised myself, I went hiking down on the Spyglass trail and I was better prepared: Hollis had a new, bigger hat, I had two sippy cups of water (one with ice in the car, and one with me), and I wore a dark tank top so I wouldn't be so self conscious about my ErgoBaby dunlop (I'll take a picture of it for you some day).
It was hot and muggy yesterday at 3 o'clock, but I was happy to be outside with my baby strapped to my back. I headed down the hill and turned up the trail. I was feeling my legs and back, I felt strong, happy, and motherly. The trail was brown and bare, but there were still bushy-tailed squirrels foraging in leaves and slate-colored lizards pressed against limestone boulders. The creek bed is bone-dry and bright white, and reflected the haze-filtered sun lending a warm stillness to the scene.
We were all alone under the trees when I feel a little "swoosh" on my spiky ponytail and a wiggle followed by a tiny peal of laughter. Then another "swoosh," wiggle, and giggle. And another.
Hollis was tickling me.
And he knows well enough by now that when he tickles, he gets tickled.
My heart about exploded in that moment when I realized he was playing with me. Of course I obliged him and squeezed his chubby knees. He curled forward, his head on my back, and giggled and kicked, caught his breath and "swooshed" me again. KABOOM! My heart went into a million pulsing, happy fragments as he continued to swipe at my hair and chortled his sweet little laugh.
I think that yesterday, that moment, was the most spectacular thing that's ever happened to me.
My heart can hardly stand the love I feel for this little, hilarious, demanding, mercurial, loving, adorable, jiggle-chopped baby. I feel like it's sunshine in my veins, song in my heart, bone-jarring adoration. Feeling this way so openly is akin to being watched naked and vulnerable. I have nothing to protect me other than my devotion. It's liberating. I feel like I could fight a hundred men and win. I feel unstoppable. I am a woman, I am a mother. Do not get between me and my baby or you will lose, and lose sorely. Because I love my baby.