Dear Baby Girl,
The night before you came into this world, I lay in bed and put my hand on my big, swollen belly, closed my eyes and cried in the dark. I was trying to hold on to what it felt like to have you kicking and stretching the limbs of your tiny body inside my body, safe and sound. It was a miracle I didn’t think I would ever know.
In a few short hours you would be born, and, if all went well, a dream would come true for your dad and me. That dream was you.
And so I cried at the anticipation of it all. I was nervous and scared and excited to meet you. And I cried for all the suffering and loss we experienced to get to this moment. The moment before your birth.
Last night I lay awake again in the dark in the room next to yours where you slept in your crib. You’re still sleeping there this morning as the sun rises and wakes up the ranch where generations of our family has grown. You used to sleep in my belly, then in my arms, then in the bassinet beside my bed and now you’re a wall away. Time does things like that to us.
Slowly it moves us.
Grows us up.
In a few days I will celebrate my first Mother’s Day with you, my baby, and I suddenly feel this overwhelming need to tell you some things about what it means to me to be your mother.
I had the same feeling the first night we spent together in the hospital room while your dad lay sleeping on the couch next to us. The lights were low and the room was still and I cradled you in the nook of my arm, foggy and worn out from the task of bringing you into the world. I wanted to grab a pen and write down everything I was feeling in that moment, to capture the flood of emotions that swarmed around us. But instead I just sang to you, every song I could think of that you might recognize from spending nine months behind my guitar.
I wondered if you would be a singer. I wondered who you looked like and if you would have blue eyes or brown and if you would ride horses, but I stopped wondering then if I could do this. I looked at you and the way you calmed as I hummed to you through my tears and I knew we were made for each other.
Now, when I close my eyes and try to sleep at night, I sometimes replay the first moment I saw you. You opened your eyes and looked right into mine as the nurse laid you on my chest, your mouth opening wide and closing again, searching for food, ready to live, and I thought, “Of course! She is fierce! I told you all she was!”
I knew it from those constant kicks and punches you gave me while you grew inside me. They were such a gift, a signal that you were alive and growing.
Thank you baby, for being so strong. That’s what I wanted to tell you then. I needed you to be strong because I was scared of losing you.
Last week your grampa watched me walk across the pasture with you strapped to my chest, facing out so you could see the green grass, feel the spring breeze and watch the dogs run ahead. You were kicking your legs, reaching for the sky and smiling wide, and he said “She’s the perfect baby for you isn’t she?”
Yes. Yes you are. I’ve said it all along.
Baby girl, you are so young but you’ve had such a profound impact on our existence here. We made you, together, your dad and I. And we’ve loved each other for so long that we’ve become intertwined, our happiness and sadness woven together so tightly that sometimes we don’t know whose heart is whose. And you will become the best and worst parts of us.
We’ve always wondered what that would look like and now you’re showing us every day.
You have my eyes, and his light hair, my round cheeks and his long fingers, but you are so uniquely you.
And time will tell us if you are as brave as him or as silly as me. And we might hear you singing at the top of your lungs to the trees or run to your side when you crashed to the ground, discovering that the cape you constructed didn’t help you fly. We have so much ahead of us Baby Girl.
But right now you’re starting to stir in your crib. I will walk in to pick you up and you will smile and snuggle into my chest. I will kiss your cheeks and we will start another day together as mother and child. And we will do it all again the next day and the next until time, as it always does, slowly grows you up and turns me into an old woman.
But today, Baby Girl, you are so full of wonder, the purest form of human, fresh and soft and so much alive and I get the pleasure of watching your life unfold. And you make me so grateful.
And as you grow you will learn to spend this day thanking me for giving you life, for rocking you and teaching you and bringing you the lunch that you forgot, and I tell you now before you can comprehend, Baby, “Of course, of course. I will do anything for you. “
Yes, you will have plenty of these days to thank me, but today, on our first Mother’s Day, I thank you.
You made me a mom Baby, and I’m so happy to be yours.