One year! One year so full of love and lessons, we could burst like a confetti bomb of gratitude so big, it’d coat the entire eastern seaboard in glittery, effervescent magic.
My daughter. My girl with eyes like stormy seas, hazel-grey and sparkly. My cherub cheeked baby who laughs and smiles all day, a tiny joy beam of beauty, truth, curiosity and love.
I remember every detail of your birth. How could I forget?
...The 3am water break, the laughable suggestion from the midwife on call to labor “comfortably” at home for awhile, the relief of the epidural from Joe the anesthesiologist (I’ll never forget you, Joe!!), the two packs of sugar free orange jello I consumed while waiting for you to be fully ready...
...I remember my body began shaking the moment Beth, our midwife, declared it was time: “OK, let’s have a baby!” (which I later learned was “normal” adrenaline surging through before a huge moment).
“It’s ok...Trish...what’s going on?”, Bubba asked, reaching for me.
“I’m a little scared”, I whispered while he held my hand, the nurse and Beth bustling around us, preparing for me to push….
...“Go Trish, go!”, he gently encouraged. Watching him supporting my left leg I felt I got to see a miracle happening through his eyes, as they lit up with every effort I made to bring you earth side. His face was one of delight and wonder and humility, which is really so your dad.
...We both cried, Bubba and I. “It’s OK, I’m here, don’t be scared” I told you as you whimpered and nestled your naked body close to my chest. Kissing the top of your head, inhaling your sweet scent, admiring your slender fingers which I am convinced I could feel tickling me from the inside...
Say, I want to tell you a little story.
Several years ago, right after Bubba and I had reconnected from our high school days but were still in the very (VERY) early time of “who knows where this will lead...” (sidenote: I knew, but that’s a tale for another day), I set off on a coaching structured women’s retreat to Costa Rica.
This retreat had yoga, surfing, hiking and zip-lining for the body, as well as meditation, writing, healing and guidance for the soul. It was a turning point for me, after a few years of self loathing. I had made numerous fear-based decisions that resulted in hurting others. It was quite a long time of armoring up. Hiding. Pretending, and outright lying to the broad majority of people in my life. I felt tiny and raw and stupid and cowardly. I felt fake and ashamed and slightly, manically crazed. I almost wholly hated myself for what had transpired and I deeply needed to find a way to forgive, and begin again.
So I went to Costa Rica, because it’s what my soul required of me.
In one of our group coaching sessions I began quietly explaining this; I tried expressing the depths to which my regrets surrounding this time had been flooding me with guilt on a daily basis. I was swirling, drowning, even, in my usual shame for the selfish choices that had led me to cause pain for others.
I hadn't planned on speaking during this session and only began when prompted in the final moments of the discussion. My shame and disappointment of self were so big that it was still difficult to form the words and allow them to leave me, making them vulnerable to the judgements of others.
As I sat there fumbling over my thoughts, one of the coaches leading the retreat suddenly lit up and interrupted me by saying, completely without context; "I'm sorry...I'm getting a download...I have to ask; do you want to be a mother?"
Without hesitating I choked out through tears, "You know, I never used to. Or maybe, I didn’t think I could. But now...now I desperately want to be a mommy."
Hearing myself say those words shook me to my core--they were so raw and true and unknown to me in many ways. How had I not acknowledged this desire before? And what did this truth need me to know?
She continued: "Yea. I thought so. And you know what? You had to go through all of that for her."
I don’t know if it was her steady voice, or the week's worth of healthy smoothies and sunshine and nature and powerful women seeking to connect...but I believed her.
And now I know.
I know it in my bones.
Everything I have learned, experienced...all of the mistakes and choices (both foolish and wise)...have been for you. My adventures and successes, my relationships and longings: The universe was preparing me, teaching me, to be your mama.
And now, with your joy beam being at the center of my life, you will be my greatest teacher. All of the things I will learn and experience...all of the mistakes and choices (both foolish and wise) I will stumble through in order to begin again...will be from you. The gift of witnessing your own life expand and unfold, the honor of being a safe place for you to land, the treasure of loving you so ferociously without limits or qualifiers or expectations in return: The universe was making me whole again for us.
For you, and from you. This is the harmony of my blessed life.
Bunny love, before our anatomy scan confirming your biological gender as female, people often asked me if I had a hunch as to the results. Even after, folks would wonder if I “guessed” correctly.
I always chuckled and said no, we were completely surprised!
But this isn’t true.
Because when I closed my eyes, and placed my hand on my belly, I could see the swaying palms and smell the sea and feel the salty tears on my cheeks.
For her, they would say.
Happy, Happy Birthday, baby. You are a gift we try to be worthy of each day….
I love you,