Tuesday, May 20, 2014
I stood watching Merissa as she tried to reach for a toy. She was lying on her stomach on the thick carpet of her room; I was down the hallway, leaning against the open door to the master bedroom. Her world was nothing but the warmth of the carpet and the fall of light and the hum of someone's lawn mower- and this toy, just out of reach.
I saw her try again and again to grab the toy, her hand sometimes making contact only to send it rolling further away. She would pause and retract her arms, as though to regroup before reaching out again, fingers groping, straining forward, toes digging into the carpet.
I wondered if she wasn't merely reaching for the toy, but for herself, aware of nothing but the need to stretch out into who she was becoming. Everything around her supported this growing into self, everything was focused into this one moment reaching into the next. It must be tantalizing, just at the tip of her fingers, who she knew she could be, must be, was going to be.
She doesn't remember who she was and she can't see so far ahead as to be worried about the shape she will eventually take- she lives always on the liminal space. Her life is a perfect sphere moving just beyond her current ability, rolling her into the next.
This work she does is full of urgency, frustration and joy. On one reach she finally clamped the toy between her finger and thumb in a secure grip. Aware of this, she snagged the toy immediately to her mouth and bit it, proprietarily. It was hers; she had reached forward into herself and taken hold and now she would enjoy it for all it was worth. She made no sound, but her whole little body was filled with the intensity with triumph, both hands now firmly around the block.
It sounds strange, perhaps, but I felt as though I'd been allowed to see something sacred. I feel this way, sometimes, watching her grow.