It was just after eight in the morning when you made your entrance. 8 lbs, 6oz of soul, flesh and bone. One last push, an initial cry, four blue eyes locked in their first encounter as mine filled with tears. Until that instant, I thought of you as mine alone, our two hearts echoing an ancient rhythm within sacred walls. But when I held you in my arms as the physical cord connecting us severed, I swear I could feel the moment your heart began a cadence all its own. Before I knew it you, who had never left my presence, were FOUR. FEET. AWAY; forty-eight inches that felt like forever. I was suddenly empty. I could barely see you, this little being whose spirit I knew as well as my own but whose face I had yet to memorize. My darling girl was now of this world; one that multiplied by the millisecond to include Daddy, doctors, nurses, heat lamps, warm water and even warmer welcomes.
The realization hit like an epidural. I felt a joyous ache, both comforted and terrified in the knowing our relationship had and would continue to forever change. As I held you once more, I was reminded of the poem, “On Children”, by ultimate truth-teller Kahlil Gibran.
Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. They come through you but not from you And though they are with you yet they belong not to you. You may give them your love but not your thoughts, For they have their own thoughts. You may house their bodies but not their souls, For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams. You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
As the curtain closed on one of the most precious acts in my story, it simultaneously opened for you, revealing a future chock full of todays, tomorrows, hope and promise, and one that would never again be just the two of us.
A year has passed and I’m still as in awe of you as the day you took your first breath. You are bold, bright, fearless, sleepless (much to our chagrin), sassy, sweet, shy, stunning and surreal. You’ve wooed us all, even big brother who was less than charmed initially. Your impact expands exponentially with each passing moment, and I am proud to bear witness to your journey as you make this world your own. I made you a vow that hot August day to make it my work and honor to try and provide what you need to thrive; body and being, patience and protection, sustenance and sustainability. I’ll be present with the cool balm of kind words or the sanctity of silence. Whatever I have is yours to claim.
I won’t always get it right. Not even close. And the void I fleetingly feel despite your proximity will sometimes seem insurmountable. But in those moments I will do my best to remember how it felt when our souls were roommates, and that no matter where yours leads you, we are forever kindreds. And I’ll remind myself how gloriously wrong I was. You were never, ever mine. But I am always yours.
Photo cred: mine