Daughter, here you are, first thing in the morning, with your body pressed firmly against mine.
Daughter, here you are, holding your head up before you’re supposed to, moving it, getting stronger by the day.
Daughter, here you are, smiling at me, my voice a recognition registered in your eyes.
Daughter, here you are, soundly asleep in my arms, on my chest, on my legs.
Daughter, here you are, in the bath, splashing and smiling and moving your limbs.
Daughter, here you are.
Daughter, you are here.
Five and a half weeks have transpired as a parent. Five and a half weeks of subtle changes and more drastic ones. I ponder: is it harder or easier than I imagined? And then: I never imagined it. I couldn’t. And it is better and stranger and more beautiful than I could have possibly dreamed.
For so many women, having a baby is a giant adjustment. Not only physically and emotionally, but logistically as well. How will I get from point A to point B with myself and my baby intact? Why don’t they have better car seat carriers? Why can’t someone come up with a contraption to eat and drink easily and efficiently while you are nursing your baby? Why can’t your stroller also be a shopping cart? How can I clean the house or cook a meal or make a living and still give all my attention to this tiny being? How do I give more of myself without giving up the things I love? How much sacrifice is too much? Is it okay if I don’t have the same sense of urgency for accomplishment as before? Is it okay to just be here, in the moment, with my daughter? To not be out in the city, getting articles published, making connections, tweeting and posting and being a slave to social media? To actually be living my life instead of constantly posting about it?
Yes. Yes. Yes.
A thousand times yes.
As women, we are so many things to so many people: wife, mother, daughter, friend, employee, boss, athlete, confidante… the list goes on. But when you have a new baby, your roles shrink slightly. You tend to let other things go… until you get into a sort of rhythm, which I think I’m finding.
Already, Sophie sleeps through the night – something I am hesitant to even write about, in fear it will shift tomorrow. But, as soon as we took her co-sleeper away and let her sleep in our bed, things changed. We roll her on her side and she fits right against me. It makes nursing so easy and she passes right out. She stirs once or twice to feed during the night and that’s it. During the days, she is becoming more alert and sleeping less and less – it seems she is getting on some sort of schedule, but is it possible so young?
I look at her and when she smiles and coos and brings her hands up to gently stroke my face, I am smitten. I could spend hours lost in her because I know one day these will be faint memories. I’ll be nostalgic for her tiny hands and feet; for her little belly button and warm body and the way she completely counts on me to survive. Tomorrow will bring some new skill. Soon, she will be crawling and walking and talking and then all of a sudden, life will be a cacophony of schedules and activities. She will become independent. Her hugs will grow shorter. She will stretch her limbs. And this simple innocence of sitting and staring will be gone… it will be a story to tell. A post to revisit. A sigh held one second too long.
And I will miss every single thing about today.
Daughter, I want you to know the smell of grass, to feel the rough bark of a tree under your palms as you learn to climb; to read a real book; to watch old cartoons; to splash in a creek and run from snakes and collect rocks and make bread from scratch and trust your own instincts and write letters and have sleepovers and play with wooden toys and to think for yourself instead of listening to the world at large.
For now, we will focus on keeping you content. On giving you love. On holding you and rocking you and kissing your sweet little cheeks.
Daughter, sweet, innocent child of mine, you are beyond loved.