Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Eleven Years Today

Eleven years ago today, right at this moment, I was lying in a bathtub hooked up to a baby monitor with contractions coming every minute and lasting a minute. I had been in labour since the previous afternoon and no relief was in sight. After a totally uneventful pregnancy, where I felt better than ever, it had all come down to these moments.

In the end, after 30 hours, no dilation at all and my baby's heart rate dropping drastically, I was rushed to an emergency c-section. There was a bit of a struggle to get her out since she was wedged in so tightly, but soon I'd be met with her strong cries.

After one look into her little familiar face, I was smitten. Oh, not just a little. I had never felt what I felt in that moment. The surety that I would lay down my life at any given moment if it meant saving hers. The need to protect and nurture so overwhelming it would clutch at my heart and throat with an insistence that still persists to this day.

Her grey eyes projected a wisdom that I had never seen in a baby, belying an older soul within. I knew that despite how tiny and fragile, she had an inner fortitude I would never match. In the days and weeks to come, I would learn how her strength and resilience had served her well in the birthing process. She had succumbed to some bruising and battering, but also a fractured skull.

Those first few months found me obsessively plotting times of feedings and diapers, amounts of bottles and moods. I would sit up in a dimly lit room and stare into her beautiful face, lost in the grace and overwhelming love embodied in this one little individual. I felt a sense of guilt for having failed her in the birthing process, and battled myself to remain composed. I swore to her that I'd do better, be better, keep her safe from herein.

As the days grew into months and years, my heart grew to proportions I didn't know could exist. To say she was my everything, is to minimize what she was to me. Rather, is to me. I kept her as close as possible to me, sharing a family bed and entrusting her care on the odd occasion to only a select few. When I had to part with her at those times, her caregivers were met with pages long manifestos regarding the do's and don'ts of her daily routine. However scared and hovering I may have been, there was no real need. She, in nature, wasn't the risk taking kind of child. At play dates, she would amuse herself quietly and gently. She never threw or banged or crashed. She never ran around someone's home screaming and shouting. If battles of will broke out within her playmates, she would quietly move away from the melee. She listened well, rarely needed discipline and thrived on learning. To state that she was an "easy" child is a gross understatement. Yes, I am blessed.

To this day, she remains a gentle girl, yet with a strong will when it comes to the rights and justices of others. If required, she will fight tooth and nail for what she feels is "right" or "fair." She is the type of girl that will spend hours engrossed in a book, or working away at a charcoal or pastel drawing in her room. She is very sociable and friendly, still choosing to walk away from confrontation and strife. She doesn't have a competitive bone in her body, which makes her an easy playmate for those who need to be the "best." She doesn't like taking the ball when playing soccer, but she'll outrun you to get it and down the field. On the stage, watching her dance, is to see her in her true element. She doesn't just perform the steps, she BECOMES the piece. Everything about her movements and facial expressions reflects the mood and setting. She's graceful without trying, elegant without pause. She feels strongly and when the odd occasion arises where she loses her cool, she's also quick to apologize and ask for forgiveness. Of course, with her track record, I'm quick to forgive.

Here we are, eleven years later, standing on the precipice of the teenage years and the difficult life lessons to come. When I look into those knowing grey eyes, I can revert easily back to that small room, rocking in a chair, sniffing her hair,hugging her to my chest and whispering promises. She's grown and shared and it's been a true pleasure to watch that evolution. I can't help but feel that though I'm the Mom and she learns from me, the opposite is exponentially true. I have learned more from my time as her Mother than anything I gleaned before our relationship bloomed.

Her birth into my life brought colour and light, laughter and tears. Mostly though, it brought a hope for the future and a love that outshines anything else I have ever known or ever will. The next year may bring surprises and changes and difficulties, but my promise to her remains steadfast. I have a feeling that she has much more to show me along the way.

To my grey eyed Angel Face on this day of your birth..................I wish you many more, and I want you to know how enriched and blessed I am by your presence in my life, daily.

Happy Birthday, my love. XO

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