Happy Birthday

Birthdays.  A time of celebration and, for a mother’s heart, deep nostalgia. A yearning for what was and pride and joy for what is to come.  Her day, that day, is no different for me.  My heart is flooded with memories of who she was, delight in who she is, and excitement for what she will be.

I remember her first breath, the intensity with which her eyes met mine.  “Take care of me,” they said.  Those same eyes would pierce the darkness during those late night and early morning feedings. They were a north star that showed my heart a brand new kind of love.  I remember quiet days at home with just the two of us.  Days that now seem like they were part of a different world.  I watched every movement, every breath, every heartbeat.

I remember the way she used to crawl over to her books and sit there forever clumsily flipping through them one by one, the sun shining down on her through the window.  It only was a few months later that we learned she had memorized them.  She could finish almost any sentence in every one of her books. I will never forget the amazement I felt upon learning that. Indeed, we were just vessels.  She was a real little being.

A real little being who used to startle so much at loud noises she would burst into tears, and a little being who today still asks if the toilet flushing will be loud. A little being so sensitive she would wake up if water was dripping in the sink, and a little being who today will call me into her room in the middle of the night because of a hangnail.   A little being who busies herself all day long being a mommy, and who still has time to place a lovey next to my bed every night.  A little being who would wake upon sensing my workouts beginning in the morning, and who today will stumble downstairs in those bleak morning hours and ask to join me.  A little being who observed everything with deep intensity as a baby, and who today struggles to comprehend any injustice or pain that afflicts others.

And oh, how I love her.  I love her little voice.  I love the way she still can’t say her “r” sounds.  I love when she asks for pigtails in her hair.  I love when she giggles.  I love when she says “I have a idea, Mommy.” I love watching her point her toe at the barre, and I love watching her swim across the pool.  I love when she asks for “long loves.” I love watching her swing her feet as she sits at the kitchen table.  I love it when she holds my hand.  I love watching her swell with pride when she does it by herself.  I love going to check on her at night and finding her all curled up with her lovey tucked under her chin.  I love that she wants to be together all the time.  I love that she remembers everything I tell her.  I love that there is still so much she does not understand.  I love her energy.  I love her confidence.  I love her sweet little precious spirit.

It is true that children are the real teachers, for the lessons I’ve learned from her in 4 short years have been profound: lessons of strength, of humility, and of grace.  As we mark her birthday with “not just one gift Mommy,” I struggle to let go of the phases that will not move forward with us, while remaining utterly joyful for everything that awaits her in the coming year.  She is my heart, wearing pigtails, and walking outside of my body.  She is everything.  She is mine.  And now she is 4.

Happy Birthday to the angel who clipped her wings and made me a Mommy.

Find the joy~

Jessica

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