We went to the beach yesterday. Julia ate her first handfuls of sand, and for a while, she looked like she had a five-o'clock shadow.
We got home, and I bathed her, and still there were specks of sand on her. Then she slept, and woke, and gosh darn it, if there weren't still specks.
Except the sand was gone. The specks were moles--two of them on her face. It's sort of a fantastic moment, these little stars coming out on her; I wrote about it when Lucy got them.
For those of you who have never seen me, I have a lot of moles. Many are large (say about the diameter of a chocolate chip) and rather irregularly shaped, and kind spongy in an unnatractive way. They're fine--certainly I don't hate them, but they're sort of a pain, since dermatologists look at them, shake their heads, and say, you should really get those checked regularly.
I guess of all the features of my body, they wouldn't be on the top of my list were I to put myself together. (Though I think I would be sad were I to have to get all of them removed).
Something about having children, though, makes the little blemishes of one's own body lovely, poignant, and precious. Lucy's moles I know--a few on her face, one on her arm--and they are as dear to me as her eyelashes, her funny triangular toenails, and the way her hair frizzes in the back. Julia's moles, too, are dear. They are little marks that say I belong to this woman. They are little bits of me that got sprinkled on her. Like the chips in chocolate chip cookies.
They are especially dear now, when they are appearing: like stars coming out. They are like little promises of the toddler, preschooler, girl, and woman she will be, these marks that will be with her always, part of her face, as unique as her fingerprints.
I wrote a story once where a girl saw constellations in her moles--Orion's belt scattered across her belly, the Pleaides on her leg. It wasn't that great. How much better to see these stories unfolding in front of me, the stars coming out in my very own family.