While driving Emily to daycare this morning, I felt a needle-like stabbing in my right eye. I jammed my pinkie finger into the corner of my eye and dug out an eyelash, which stuck to a smear of black eyeliner on my finger.
Ever since I was a little kid and my mom brushed eyelashes off of my cheek, I have wished on eyelashes. Over the years, my wishes have changed, if not evolved. I used to wish for things like attention from certain boys or men, for fame and fortune to strike me suddenly, for those extra pounds to magically disappear, to meet the movie star du jour. I used to wish for things that now seem somewhat frivolous.
When I was pregnant, every wish was for my babies to be born whole and healthy. And then after they were born, I wished for them to sleep more and cry less. For them to feel better when they were sick. For five minutes of uninterrupted time to myself.
Driving down the road, I tried to land on a wish for this eyelash. I thought of wanting more sleep. I thought of wishing for my son to tantrum less and to hug me more. I thought of wishing that babies would no longer be born with cancer. I could have wished for a sizeable duffel bag of cash to appear on my porch with my name on it. I thought of wishing for more happy times with my kids, or of a dinner out alone with my husband and wine. All of these things seemed like good things to wish for, but it also felt a little silly that I was putting so much thought into a wish– a whimsical thing of fantasy.
I rolled the eyelash between my index finger and thumb which were slightly greasy with makeup.
Emily started to whimper in her car seat in a way that I’ve learned means she is frustrated. I wiped off the makeup and eyelash on my pants and I reached my hand back and stroked her fluffy head. She will be one in a few weeks, a fact with which I am reluctantly coming to grips.
Feeling the soft warmth of her hair against her firm head, I remembered the first time I ever touched her head, when I was in labor with her and she was crowning. My labor and birth of Em was barely longer than an hour from start to finish. The memories of her birth got blurred in my mind by the hectic surge of hormones I needed to get through her unmedicated delivery. But that moment of feeling her head for the first time is as clear as if it just happened.
Sometimes I meditate on this as I’m nursing her, loving the memory of how gooey and small her skull felt as it emerged from my body. It is a moment I never want to forget.
So, that was my wish: to always recall with perfect clarity and detail that first moment of feeling Emily’s head.