On My First Mother’s Day

By Natalie

She won’t remember these days but I will.

When the sun begins to rise we pop open the blinds, Felicity in my arms. A ritual we do every morning for our houseplants to get some sunlight. Sometimes we squint our eyes and I talk about how bright it is. Sometimes it’s cloudy and I tell her it looks like it’ll rain today.

I set her down in her walker. She presses the music button as I kiss her head. My hand runs through the hair on the back of her head and I think to myself how much I love her. She straightens her legs out, confidently running across the kitchen.

I’m simultaneously exhausted by her growth and grateful to have a happy healthy baby. Her new favorites include, being thrown in the air by Daddy. (A moment he’s been waiting for a long time!) Long neighborhood walks, freeze dried fruit, when Bingley gets the zoomies and pulling the outlet covers off of the outlets!

She has been crawling anywhere she can get too, pulling up on whatever she can reach. She’s climbing stairs, taking steps, babbling, expressing a sea of emotions. She’s fascinated and curious about how things work, stopping her pediatrician from inspecting her other ear because she needs to look at the contraption. She grips the handle and uses her index finger to scratch at it, until she finally approves it’s alright to use in her other ear. That dark night we left the birth center with our 6 hour old baby is becoming fuzzier and fuzzier. She has her own personality now. Thoughts and opinions. That’s our daughter alright.

Whenever we venture out and I open her car door she greets me with a big smile. She grabs at her little feet. I’m not that special sweetheart. I want to say. In the morning when I lift her out of her crib she wraps both arms around my neck and squeezes me tight. I press my cheek against her head and squeeze her back. These little hugs I’ll cherish forever.

She reaches for her singing jellyfish in her play area, pulls it to her lips and sets it back down. She likes to toss her books on top of eachother and stand on them while pulling up to get a higher view. You can’t stop this little daredevil. She’ll make her way to the stairwell, pat the first step and squeal, she’ll look around for me and giggle when I make my way over saying, “No, no.” She shakes her head and laughs, knowing I’m coming after her. I scoop her up and she goes boneless on me, laughing at her own silly antics.

My dear sweet daughter. Her very existence has forced me to face the deepest fears and insecurities buried within me. Every day after I get her dressed I take her to the mirror to see our reflection. You’re so beautiful I tell her.

Whispering this truth and trying to believe it for myself. This post I wrote 5 years ago is strangely just the words I need to hear now. I can’t hold onto these insecurities anymore. Their heaviness has been a comfort to me for years. But it’s time to let them go. Felicity needs me and in order to be there for her I need to heal my own wounds. I didn’t expect this the day I found out I was pregnant. I certainly expected to heal a bit knowing my daughter would grow up with a father. But I didn’t expect to press my baby close to my chest as she slept, wiping silent tears from my cheek as I prayed over her. Praying for her mind to be protected from the lies that so many women come to believe about themselves. I didn’t expect the protective bond I would feel with my daughter or how it has affected every relationship in my life. She has changed me not only into a mother, but into the brave woman I have always longed to be.

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