Eight years ago today, I was in Labour & Delivery bent over an exam table in agony as my uterus tried to turn itself inside out. I was terrified, not just of the pain (though my labour was crazy intense), but of the responsibility of parenthood. I knew I wasn’t ready for this.
I don’t think any of us really feels ready as we face that transition to motherhood, but I clearly remember how incredulous I was that I was going to be responsible for a keeping a human being alive. I survived Tee’s precipitous birth, obviously, and most days I survive parenthood, but there are many days I still feel like I’m just not equipped for this job.
Eight years later, when I look at her baby pictures, I see hints of the girl she would grow into. Not just in the shape of her face and the tilt of her nose, but also in the determination of her chin and the challenge in her eyes. I remember how even back then she always knew exactly what she wanted. Even before she could talk, she would demand my full attention, patting my face and crying if I looked away. Those baby giggles were so infectious, I used to spend what seemed like hours trying to get her to laugh.
And then last night, as I laid next to her in bed and listened to her non-stop chatter about everything she was looking forward to on her birthday, she suddenly asked me to sing “Baby Beluga” to her like I used to when she was a baby. It was such a little thing, but at that moment my heart overflowed with love and I was struck by how amazing it is to be her mother.
When I look at her now, I see the young woman she will become. The infuriating stubbornness that drives me crazy now means that she will always be true to herself. Her love for reading will ensure she’s never lonely, even when she’s alone.
Her sense of justice and fairness will help her figure out the right thing to do throughout her life, and her goofy sense of humour will keep her from taking herself too seriously. Even though I still feel like I have no idea what I’m doing, I think we’ll be okay.