The Time Machine

There is an exhibit, an installation, a magic space machine at the Museum of Life & Science in Durham.  It is upstairs  as soon as you get off the elevator.  If there were 20somethings in wrinkled tuxedo shirts offering  plastic glasses of cheap wine I would feel like I had been transported back in time to an art opening at the Muscarelle Museum on campus.   Only I would be wearing black thigh highs and combat boots and chasing boys.

Instead I am wearing a baby.  And chasing six year olds.  This afternoon I watched the “sand” made by shadows in the projected light pile up on my body.  I watched for longer than I have ever watched before.  I have stood in the path of these lights at least a dozen times and never did I see myself like I did today .


My hand on her head.  Her body jutting out from my lower abdomen.  I stood like this for months before I ever got to hold her.  She is asleep.  I can hear her breathing.  We are exactly the same temperature.  She can smell me.

Almost a year ago now I took this picture below.  I wish I’d had the sense to include the rest of me.  I remember snapping more than a few, I couldn’t seem to get an angle that didn’t make me look like the back end of a truck.  Funny the things I worried about.

My pregnancy, Lucy’s beginnings are more than documented, both here and privately.  I imagine I could make a flipbook if I lined up every bathroom belly shot I took.  But it is not enough to just look at these old pictures.  I won’t ever have her back so close again.
My big girl will be in the first grade in three days.  After dinner tonight she climbed in my lap and I pressed my face in to the nape of her neck.  Her fresh, back to school hair cut gives me free access.  I inhaled her.  She is still there.  My first baby.

My little one, I can still hold her close.  I can still breathe her in while she sleeps.  Today as I watched the “sand” pile up on her as she slept against my chest I knew that I would come back again to this exact same spot.  I would take another picture.  First I will see the shadows pile on her back  as she crawls.  Then I will see the shadows pile on her head and her feet as she walks.

And one day we will get off the elevator and I will walk towards the light and she will not follow me.  Instead she will head towards another exhibit, hot on the heels of the big kids.  And I will chase her.  And I will pick her up and smell her and she will be my baby again for a moment.



6 responses to “The Time Machine

  1. Oh my god, this just made me cry. And I just put on mascara for the first time in a week!

  2. What a beautiful post and makes me long to have a million more babies!!

  3. new baby; new puppy, new car…..indefinable memories; best of times, worst of times, right? But with all of them, you’re goddam sure you’re alive!

  4. What a cool exhibit! And the smells, the baby smells. I want to bottle it and hoard its essence for the rest of my life.

Gimme some love!! Please?

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