Dear Baby Girl,
Ever since you told me you were pregnant, I knew instinctively you’d be a great mom. But, when I looked at your face as you heard the whoomp-whoomp beat of your first child’s heart, I realized you already were one. The anxiety and anticipation while your doctor swirled the ultrasound wand went on for so long that my own heart skipped a bit. The joy and relief on your face as this stranger in a white coat assured you the baby seemed healthy and strong was like nothing I’d ever seen in you.
Your eyes suddenly dissolved into puddles of parenthood.
We’re both mothers. It took me a moment to digest that. As I watched you debate with the doctor about the safety of taking B-6 for nausea – even though you’ve been violently ill every single day for weeks – I realized you were suddenly in the club. With no hesitation, you placed your child’s well-being above your own comfort – the magic ingredient of a love like no other. You will lose track of how many times you do this as a mom. If only vitamins were as complicated as it gets. In the past 12 weeks, I’ve watched you go from the kid who used to use her bathroom sink as a trashcan to a fierce, selfless woman who would rather keep sending me pictures of her breakfast splayed on her driveway than to take something that might hurt her child. You don’t realize it yet but every day of the rest of your life will be filled with these dilemmas. And there are rarely easy answers. I immediately wish there was a way I could save you from the agony of these decisions. But, it’s in the job description. You’ve already been hired.
So many thoughts raced through my head and heart during that hour-long doctor’s appointment. Though I’d known for weeks you were pregnant, it was like hearing the news for the very first time. I’m happy for you, but I’m also worried. I’m anxious. There is nothing that makes you feel more vulnerable than your baby having a baby. It’s like the fragility of life just knocked on my door and moved in for forever and a day. I know that your life is about to change and I’m powerless to protect you from the pain that motherhood brings and incapable of describing the love you are about to feel. I sat there in that tiny room with sweat dripping down my back, pulse racing, feeling like my motherhood had just been taken to a whole new level I didn’t even realize was part of the game. But, I can’t tell you that. Who wants a sweaty, anxious grandma for their child? Instead, I flipped through a People magazine, attempting to look calm and collected while my insides were overwhelmed and churning with a stew of excitement and fear.
You married an amazing man. I watched as he typed back “SQUEAL!!!!” when you texted him details about the appointment. Know that this baby will change your relationship with your husband. There will be arguments and times when you feel that he isn’t supporting you enough. You’ll accuse him of not understanding why you’re so sick and so tired. But how can he? You’re growing a fricking human being. Seriously, who does that? (Uh,…moms do, that’s who.) Be patient with him. A few weeks ago while he was playing video games, you were basically making arms and legs and magically forming taste buds for your little bundle of joy. He won’t get it. He’s probably not even making the bed. But it doesn’t matter. Because, wait – holy crap – just wait until you see the love you’re capable of once you see him hold his child; when he staggers in the middle of the night towards the wailing and tells you he’s got it; when he’s carrying the baby strapped in a carrier on his chest and holding your hand. There’s nothing sexier than watching a man take care of his child. You will experience a level of trust and love for this man that you never thought possible. What a lucky woman you are. Remember that the hormones just don’t let you realize it quite yet.
We hugged goodbye in the parking lot. I was leaving you and my grandbaby to drive back to North Carolina. The lumps in my heart and throat were at war. What if you got in an accident on the way home? What if something goes wrong? What if I lost two of you? What if you needed me and I wasn’t there? I immediately pushed those thoughts to the back of my head and suggested we take a selfie (too hideous to post) instead. But inside? In my innermost being? I was dying leaving you.
I had so much to say, but I wasn’t able to say any of it. There will never be enough time.
Here’s the truth. I didn’t realize all that it meant to be a mother until my baby was having a baby. It just scares the crap out of me. It feels like you’re in kindergarten all over again going off into this new world I have no control over. I had just figured out how to get a good night’s sleep without worrying about you and your brothers(it only took about 28 years) and now a baby is brought into the fold. Stupid, beautiful baby. I don’t even know what to do with how I’m feeling. But, I do know that I feel blessed to experience another lifetime of love and restless nights.
I cried half of the way home and sang at the top of my lungs with the sunroof open the other half of the way. It was an exhausting five hours. That’s kind of what parenthood does to you. It splits your personality wide open allowing ecstasy, fear and a vulnerability so unbelievably raw to leak out of your soul that you literally feel like you’re losing your mind. And you like it.
Motherhood ain’t for sissies. Only those that can laugh and cry in the same five minutes survive.
But, you’re my girl. You were raised on laughter and tears. You’re going to be an incredible mom. And, I’m pretty sure that watching you be a parent will be one of the greatest privileges of my life.