To have a daughter

Eight long weeks ago I gave birth to the perfect, beautiful being that now lies next to me. I watch her small chest rise and fall as I marvel over her existence, over the life I am now responsible for. While I existed for thirty-odd years without her, it feels as though I was ever-so slightly incomplete; she was always present somewhere, if only as a wish, a want, a premonition. As she emerged from the water that I had so arduously labored in, I felt an inexplicable twinge of recognition as I gazed upon her face. “Of course that’s you,” I thought, as if there was no other way that she might look, no other form that she might take.

Motherhood continues to be a labor of love, but it is one I accept with gratitude (at least in my better moments). She doesn’t do much just yet, of course. She sleeps. She poops. She guzzles breast milk like it’s going out of style. She coos, cries, stares, and practices smiling. She is so simple and yet so utterly complex, ever changing, and completely herself. I spend many moments wondering, imagining how she’ll develop, who she’ll be in this world. Her face is now present in my considerations of what adventures life may bring. Still, I feel compelled to be only in this moment. I want only to sit as I do in this space, my boundless love surrounded by these four walls. I want only to know the impossibly sweet smell of her head and the curious odor of her small, clenched fists. I want only to think of my desire to reach out and awaken her, to pull her to my chest, to once again feel her warmth and gaze into her knowing eyes, her all too familiar face.

 

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