I peeked into your crib this morning as I got ready to leave for my early-morning flight to San Diego. You were curled up on your tummy, your sweet little bum in the air, your chest rising and falling with your steady breaths.
And then the smell of you—that perfect baby smell of you—wafted up, catching me off guard, making my heart seize at the thought of leaving you.
You are a treasure. A squishy, blue-eyed, army-crawling treasure. You scoot your way along the carpet, a little inch worm intent on reaching whatever it is that has caught your attention—a package of wipes, a sheet of paper from the printer, a cord from the computer charger. It was just this week that you really started getting around—you are suddenly into everything, and you want everything in your mouth. Let the baby-proofing begin!
The other day, I laid you down on the floor in my bedroom for a moment, then ran back into the kitchen to do something, and when I came back you were gone. I could hear you, but I couldn’t see you—until I got down on my hands and knees and peered under the bed.
There you were, big blue eyes staring back at me, a grin spreading across your face as soon as our eyes met.
“What are you doing under there, Baby Girl?” I asked laughing, delighted and shocked by your new mobility.
You rolled your way to the other side of the bed, content as you could be in your newfound cave, and when you got close to the other side, I grabbed your roly-poly little leg and pulled you out, tickling your belly and making you laugh.
You make me feel so loved. The way your face lights up when I come to get you out of your crib in the morning, the way you crane your neck to find me whenever you are in someone else’s arms.
I love when I feed you bottles and you look at my face so intently, reaching up to touch my hair or my cheek or to tug on my glasses. The other night, you pulled my glasses down to the tip of my nose as you were drinking, and I peered over them and said, “Well hello there.” You giggled appreciatively, and the milk in your mouth spilled down your chin and onto my shirt. A messy, perfect moment.
And when you were finished, I put you up against my shoulder and gently burped you, as I always do. It’s the one time of day that you are willing to be quietly snuggled, and you nuzzled your head into the crook of my neck and relaxed, your tiny body melting into my chest, heavy and warm. As you drifted off to sleep, I rocked and rocked and breathed you in and out, in and out—our hearts beating together, my heart full to the brim with gratitude for you.
You were so worth it. Worth every uncomfortable fertility treatment, every shot, every hormone-induced breakdown—worth every moment of nine-months of nausea, every tearful morning in the recliner with a trashcan in my lap.
You, my precious daughter, are a miracle. And each day as I search your face—your dimpled chin, your rosy cheeks, your pink cherub lips, your crazy cowlicked hairline—I am reminded again of God’s tender mercies. Again and again and again—every day of your life, I will be reminded.
I am grateful beyond words to be your mother. Just when I didn’t know if my heart could hold more love for my family, you came along and showed me that it could.
On this Valentine’s Day morning, as I am minutes away from boarding a plane that will take me far away from you, it seems only appropriate to share one of my favorite poems. These sweet words express how I feel about you, my little love, and how I will be feeling these next few days without you:
i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)
no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)
I will love you forever and ever and always, Sally Grace.