I love her so much that sometimes my breath catches in the back of my throat as I think, unable to breathe, about all of the things I already miss about her younger days (only months ago I brought her home.) I think about the years ahead – the wonderous adventures, the lurking dangers. My heart beats extra loud in my chest these past nine months, swollen with motherhood – the pride, the joy, the fear, the unending love.
At night, I often sneak into her room and kiss her head, messy with hair. I check that she is breathing as new mothers often do. As she lay dreaming about whatever it is babies dream about, I send my love out to her, so it may envelope her; envisioning it sinking into her skin like osmosis, becoming a part of her. Hoping she carries it with her always.
Sometimes the love fills me up, makes me whole; others it bursts from my skin and leaves me feeling hollow with fear. It pours out of me like the sand of an hour glass and it’s all time I cannot get back. Every moment is blissfully joyous and quickly gone, never to be relived excepting the few we take with us as memories. And this is just the beginning.
I imagine in eighteen years it will feel different. I’ll know her then, her growing up will be real and so will her determination, know-how, and her own instincts. Maybe then it won’t seem so scary that she’ll be going out into the world. Maybe it’ll be more scary. By then I’ll know I succeeded in keeping her alive. I’ll have to trust that I taught her enough to keep herself alive. Though I know a mother’s job is never done, at some point she’ll take the reins of her own big life. Oh, how I hope it’s big.
For now I spend my days waiting to put her to bed, when I’ll know I’ve successfully mothered another full day; only to spend my nights wakeful, checking each noise, every sigh, listening to the beat in my chest as it grows ever louder. It’s a beautiful thing, this love. Like the ocean, it is vast and deep, pure and peaceful, strong and terrifying.