Today, My Baby is Four
At 2:22am, in the dark of this day of 2014, I brought forth this awesome little person who we call Ophelia. Under her gasping, tiny, warm body - under her wide eyed, silent, piercing stare - the first thing I did was cry with relief “I did it. It is done.”. I had just done the absolute hardest thing, yet somehow, unbeknownst to me then, the more difficult work of a lifetime had only just begun. If you’re a mother, then you know.
All of a sudden, this thing, that had up until then only existed inside of me, was its very own entity. And she wasn’t the only thing.. In that moment of birth a great portion of my heart exposed itself to journey right along with her. Raw and at the mercy of my child living a life that I can nurture and tend to, but can not determine.
Ophelia is such a fitting name. In that tiny body of hers she carries a BIG spirit. She has a palpable intensity, and her tiny child’s voice shares with us her big thoughts. She is self determined and fierce and brazen. She is always on. On the go, never still. Her quick mind always racing, not missing a beat, keeping up with life beyond her years. She always seems to notice when someone is hurting or in need. She is intuitive, and she is always up to help. Though, she doesn’t have a people pleasing nature. I love this about her. In moments of exasperation I have to remind myself this. But, I do. I love this about her. I want my girl to grow into a woman strong enough to help carry another through their pain, but not be laden with obligation to please others at the sake of her own self, her own needs, her own spirit. I want nothing more than for her to continue to master her own universe while retaining the strength to remain tender and vulnerable to those she orbits with. I believe she will. I think she is remarkable.
My baby - she barely fits in my lap anymore. At night, when she is buzzing from the day and needs for me to hold her, to ground her so that she may ease into rest. Her long limbs spill over mine. I cradle her in my arms still, determined not to tremble with fatigue under her reliance on me. Gravity, nature, pulls her precious weight away from me with greater force with each day more that she has to grow on this earth.
But, for her, I will grow stronger for as long as I can. I will hold onto her for as long as she needs me to. For now, she is still my baby, but just barely. Still looking over her shoulder to be sure I am close enough by for her to huddle back under my wing when need be. But her breadth is quickly growing greater. She ventures further each passing week. Now a thumbs up from across the way gives her the confidence she needs to carry on, when not too long ago she would have required my embrace. And, soon, I know she will sputter independently from my safety nest. Testing herself without my protective gaze. And then one day thereafter she will wander well beyond me, tethered together only by heart strings. I know I must not let time slip away from me, and I must weave this fiber strong and sturdy for when that chapter comes. Because the days are long, but the years are short. Right? And she is already growing up and away. She has been from that first moment she became her own. As she should be.
Motherhood. I stumble in ways that I had imagined would come easy for me, imagined would be sure. Yet, I am stronger and more than I ever dreamed I would even have to be.
My girl. Four years young today. A glorious day, and my heart aches the bittersweet ache of a great love, a love still somehow growing as even more of her emerges.