I’ve been spontaneously breaking out into tears since bringing our precious baby girl home from the hospital. When I see our perfect, beautiful baby, I am overcome by love. So much so, that my heart aches. My body wretches as it did in labor, manifesting in the form of sobs. I am not sad that I’m no longer pregnant, I lament that she isn’t going to stay so tiny, and that we won’t always be there to protect her. As soon as she took her first breath, she started becoming oxidized by this earth’s air. She’s no longer safely tucked away inside me. A physical piece of my heart became incarnate, exposed to all the world.
I always want to remember her frog belly, the peach fuzz around the edges of her perfect little ears, and how she sleeps with both hands nestled by her face. Each of her fingers is only the size of a tip of my own, her tiny toes curl around my thumb, and her big toes the size of garden peas. I love watching her sleep, often being rewarded with a shaky side smile, or even better, a real giggle as angels whisper stories in her ears. As she dozes off between swallows, I stroke her pillow soft cheek to urge her to keep eating. Holding her in my arms, I rub her velvet hair beneath my palm. The back of her perfectly round head wrinkles under my fingers, which transports me back to the night I bore her. My OB doc, in order to encourage me to keep pushing, had me reach down to feel her head crowning. I couldn’t believe that squishy softness I felt was my baby peeking out.
To you, my dear Baby Girl, please know that Daddy and I are learning how to be parents at the same time you’re learning about this world. We are certainly not perfect. We will make lots of mistakes and fail you more than my heart can bear, but know that we love you with our whole being. We won’t always be there when you’re hurt or scared or lonely. I want to hold on to you and never let you go. I want to keep you sheltered under my wings, but I know I have to let you fly and test out your own wings. You are such a gift to us and I know you’ll be a light to everyone you meet. I’d be acting out of fear and selfishness not to share you. So as long as I can, I’m going to hold you, feed you, and rock you to sleep. You will always be my baby girl, no matter how old you get. Whether you get married and have babies of your own, I’ll always be your momma. So please forgive me in advance for my tears when I have to send you to school, when I see you walk across the stage in a cap and gown, and when you decide to move away from home. Oh, how we all carelessly torture our mothers by our asserted independence! To my own momma, please forgive me. I never knew how you felt about me until I became a mother.