Looking at the pictures of Sarah holding her new baby brought back strong emotions in me.
Alia. My first born. I remember holding her after she was born. I wouldn't let them take her to the nursery. I couldn't get enough of her. She was so tiny and she had such an intense stare. The first time she breastfed, she nearly sucked my nipple off. (I know, too much information!) I bled like crazy, and from then on, I had to breastfeed on the good side, and pump on the bloody side. It was excruciating but I was not about to give up. It took six weeks to heal before she could breastfeed again on both sides. That was my first opportunity to show her that my commitment to her knew no boundaries.
I remember when Rob and I passed through the doorway of our home with our new baby. We ascended up the stairs, new baby in arm, and sat down. One glance at each other and the tears started. It was so hard to comprehend that this little person was a part of us, that we were responsible for her, that her whole well-being was in our hands. It was a surreal moment.
All these years later (almost ten of them), I can see the ways that we have lived up to the titles of mom and dad. I can also see all the glaring errors along the way. I try not to focus on those things, but there are some distinct times that I wish I could roll back the clock and change the way we handled certain situations.
This beautiful, complicated child of mine. I love her so much. I ache for each misunderstanding others have about her. I ache for the ways in which she doesn't fit. I ache for the missed opportunities due to her anxiety. I ache for those who don't get her, don't get her humor, can't understand this place in which she dwells.
Most of all, though, I just appreciate and honor who she is. This wonderful, expressive, deep, funny, wise, compassionate, thoughtful, and beautiful girl. May I always have it within me to offer her the sky, may I always trust her authentic soul, and may I find a way to grow and respect the person she is, no matter where she is in her life.