Six years ago today, my daughter was finally born at 8:10am after forty-six hours of labor. Yes, you read that right. 46! 8 lbs, 4 oz and only 19″ long.
I had my first ride in an ambulance, and hopefully my last. My doctor told me I had the worst post-birth complication he’d ever seen without the mother dying. Still, I’d do it again in a heartbeat, once a year if I had to, so I could have my girl in my life.
This was our first day home after 4 days in the hospital. She was such a peaceful sleeper, a calm baby. The little girl out of my dreams as if I’d plucked her out of my fantasy into reality.
Before she came along, I didn’t understand a lot of things. Being a people watcher and studier of why people do what they do, I wanted to understand. The mother bear’s ever watching eyes full of something close to fear, following their little one even in their own back yards. The look on her face when she’d talk about her mini-me, not pride per se, but something much more–a joy I couldn’t find anywhere else. The draw of simply watching a child sleep. The almost physical pain a parent seemed to feel when their wee one is hurt.
Quite frankly motherhood terrified me down to the bone. I could barely take care of myself, how could I possibly take care of this little person who couldn’t tell me what she wanted?
I needn’t have worried about it, because the first time I looked at her my own mother bear was born, and how. Somehow that protective bear in me just got it, clicked me into a new state of being. My arms curled around her and it was all I could do to let someone else hold her, even my own family. I held her as long as I was awake, just watching her, listening to her breathe, smiling at the little baby sighs that slipped through her lips.
That new mom in me, she knew just what to do. Okay, not entirely. The breast feeding, due to some anatomy anomalies, challenged me somewhat, but I persevered and learned to adapt in the end because it was important to me to give her that boost in life.
I learned a language unique to my daughter, knew what she was saying when nobody else did. We even learned a bit of sign language together, which was really neat.
Now I see that joy the joy that once confounded me in my own eyes, in pictures and when we’re playing dress up in front of the mirror. The bad days don’t seem quite so bad when I have her (and hubby, of course!) to come home to. I see everything with new eyes. A toad in the garden. A lady bug on the swing set. The dragon fly that likes to land on Daddy’s hat. Everything is amazing!
My world became a million times more interesting because I now see it through her eyes and ponder questions I’d never think of, like “Who will dig up our bones and put them in museums when all of the people die?” Now she can read up a storm and add like a crazy girl. I love being a part of that, watching her become the person she’s going to be.
Best. Job. Ever.
Happy 6th birthday, wee turtle. Please don’t grow up too fast so I can have time to savor you just as you are. And don’t worry, I’m sure your teeth will start falling out soon like your friends’ are, and we can start calling you the gap-toothed wonder. *snort*