sinko mes

My daughter is six months old today. It has been half a year since she was born. In her six months alive, she has hung off my hip while I’ve protested, while I’ve cried and read bad poetry. She has been strapped to me in a carrier while I’ve danced with brothers and sisters from hundreds of islands while they kiss her face and bring her feet to their noses. She has learned to crawl on the floors of meetings while elders smile at her. I’ve fed her while soaking up oral histories, taking notes on faded memories. I’ve shushed her while weaving stories on a laptop at 3am. I’ve held her close, inhaling her sweet scent before leaning over caskets, rocking her to the sounds of mourning songs. I’ve passed her around classrooms full of happy students. She’s stared questioningly at me while I touch my toes, seeking health and beauty after giving so much of it to her. She has wandered with me down dirt roads, seeking bihas with amot for stuffy noses and wheezy chests. We’ve played in the shadows of our lightless house, not caring when power would return. We’ve welcomed home relatives we’ve never seen before and cheered as primas walked down aisles. We’ve rushed toward family gone too long inside airports full of tourists with no boundaries. We’ve hugged tearful goodbyes with aunties promising to return. How many strangers’ vacation photos has she been in? We’ve emerged from our house in the early morning hours, pulling aga’ off of trees with boonie dogs in tow. We’ve jumped around the living room, celebrating consonant sounds. Not even a full year of life and she has lived so much. This morning, I stand in gratitude for what I never thought I wanted, but have come to love so deeply. Happy half-year of life to my mini maga’haga.

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