Friday, April 22, 2016

My daughter

I wondered if it might be different having a daughter. But it's not! I'm here to tell you that you can fall just as madly in love with a baby girl as you can with a baby boy.

Sometimes I'm surprised by how fiercely I love her. I wonder to myself, Do I favor her over the boys? Then I think, No, it's not that. It's just that being with her is so refreshing. She asks so little of me. With the boys, it's constant- Mom, I need - I want - I'm hungry - always on my feet, rushing for them. All Neva asks of me is that I sit and hold her. If she could talk, she'd say, Mom, can you sit and relax with me? All my babies have been this way. I just really love my babies.

And Neva is such a pleasant baby to love. She really, truly is. She rarely cries. Even In the early morning, when I sometimes wake her to nurse, and I pull her from her warm bed and lay her on the cold changing table and get her all undressed, she grunts in discomfort and confusion, but never cries. Sometimes I even get a half-sleepy smile. In fact, the only times I can think of her crying at all recently are the times I've had to interrupt a nursing session to deal with one of the boys. She cries a bit in pure sadness and then pops her thumb in her mouth to wait for my return.

A couple weeks ago, after another early morning nursing session, she had fallen back asleep after her feeding. She had done that perfect little baby streeeeeeeetch where they rock their head from side to side and pull their miniature little elbows up and then collapse again, totally asleep. I couldn't put her down. I just stared at her perfect little face, lips still pursed from that stretch. I leaned down after a couple of minutes and kissed her still, sleeping cheek. Suddenly, her eyes opened and she gave a giant smile. It was a smile that made her eyes crinkle up and her cheeks turn into round balls. Then, in a second, it was over, and she snuggled in back to sleep.

She's so, so smiley. So ticklish. So cheerful. You hold her up and smile at her and her whole body crumples toward you like she's just broken with joy. Many times, I smile at her and she gasps with delight. There's something about the feeling of being someone's favorite... I am her favorite. She is MY girl. Now, she's an easygoing baby; she'll go to anyone. But when she looks at someone else's face, she'll often turn the corners of her lips down in a tiny, baby pout. I always laugh when I see that because she has NEVER made that face to me. Of course not! I'm her favorite.

And I can't help but feel possessive of her. With Will and Barrett as babies, I felt internal pressure to be that "nice" mom, the one who didn't "hog" her baby, the one who was "cool." Not with Neva. You can hold her, I suppose, but I don't have to like it. And the second she so much as squeaks, I want my baby back! I don't care if that makes me Hog Mom. I need to be less of a people pleaser anyway.

I see mothers and daughters with strained or broken relationships EVERYWHERE. It makes me cringe inside. Could that ever be us someday? I know it's easy to love a perfectly innocent, wordless baby, but sometimes I feel like the strength of my love for her should be enough to propel us through any turbulent years. Right? Right? I can hope, I suppose. And every time I lay her precious little body down in her bed, I pray, Lord, please help us to have a good relationship. Help me to do my best.

I feel like so many dreams of mine are pinned on her- dreaming of baking with her, doing puzzles, dressing dolls together, having her tell me that what I'm wearing is or isn't "right," braiding her hair, taking her out to shop and walk and eat together, seeing the Nutcracker, having a friend. And so often I look at her and think of something else, another thing I'm looking forward to doing with her, and I think, slow down. She may not be that daughter. She may not want those things. And that will be okay, right, Maegan? And I want to promise her that NO MATTER what she does, whether she's a girl like me or a girl completely unlike me, that I will cheer for her and love her with all my heart.

As a bride I stood on a platform and felt such similar feelings. I will love you no matter what. It will always be easy to love you. Whatever you become, I will be there. And here I am now, almost ten years later, stepping out again into a new relationship, not with a new husband this time but with a new daughter. Of course, it's different, but it's also the same. Please, God, help me to do my best.


  1. Oh my Maegan, you truly have a gift. There is something so special and bonding that a mother has with her daughters. It gets more more challenging, but is more lasting, as you get older, but you nailed it.