My newborn granddaughter is leggy with long feet and long toes. Her wingspan gives her the appearance of a flamingo, her long fingers the mechanisms for flight.
A group of flamingoes is called a “flamboyance.” But Malaya on her own is flamboyant as she crosses one thigh over the other and throws an arm above her head when she naps. She is without guile.
I watch her as she flings her limbs this way and that, scrunches and relaxes her face, mewls and caws like a creature in the wild.
I dreamed that I had a nightmare, I told my daughter after our second night in the postpartum floor following two nights in Labor and Delivery where she birthed Malaya.
“You did have a nightmare,” my daughter informed me. “Sorry, I couldn’t get out of bed to shake you out of it.”
“Understandable,” I said.
During the four days we were in the hospital, the Supreme Court limited the EPA’s power to regulate carbon emissions from power plants, video was released of Akron police pumping sixty bullets into an unarmed Black man, a gunman opened fire on paradegoers in a Chicago suburb.
In the dream in which I dreamed I had a nightmare, I was explaining to someone that I have to force myself to scream in order to wake up, but it feels like I’m doing it through mud. If someone shakes me awake it’s like I’ve been rescued.
I saw Malaya being born. I heard her first cry. I watched as my daughter cradled her daughter for the first time.
I want Malaya to dream the dreams of the innocent, to chirp her little songs of hunger that she knows will be appeased, of discomfort that will be soothed, of contentment that will be echoed back at her.
I want her tiny flamboyant self to take flight in a world that sorely needs to be reminded of goodness and where no one needs to be rescued.