On the eve of my daughter’s sixth birthday, I sneak quiet moments to myself to remember. How my heart knew it was her before I even saw that plus sign. The ease with which I carried her within me, next to my heart. The surprising first nudge-nudge she gave her overly anxious mama on a hot July night. The way her daddy would place his hand on my belly, hoping to feel his stubborn girl wiggle.
I recall her due date coming and going and the anxiousness and readiness I felt just wanting her to be here. I remember her daddy’s nerves as he entered finals week during his first year of grad school. How we were babes ourselves, barely knowing what we were doing.
I remember the uneasiness I felt on that Wednesday evening, the overwhelming need to wash the dishes when I should have taken a nap. I can feel the flood of nerves as the moment came when I knew she was ready and her daddy was still at work. If I sit quietly enough, I can hear the fear and excitement in a young [soon to be] mother’s voice as she phoned her own mother and grandmother; “It’s time”.
I remember the drive to the hospital, gently caressing my swollen midline realizing soon she would be in my arms. I remember the machines and the gown and the cold hospital room. I remember the exhaustion of walking the maternity floor halls endlessly trying to rush the process. The bouncing on the ball, the hopeless attempts to sleep.
And I remember the moment, the ever fleeting second they placed her on my chest. I remember her cries, the weight of her tiny body on my chest, her warmth and her smell. These are the things a mother never forgets.
And so on the eve of my daughter’s sixth birthday, I lay next to her as she falls asleep. I study every inch of her beautiful face. I watch her chest rise and fall with each precious breath. I’ll remember this moment, the weight of her head on my chest, her warmth and her smell.
To the one who made me mama: Happiest of Birthdays, my sweet and beautiful six year old.