i remember in those first tumultuous weeks after learning you were growing in me, finding myself curling around my stomach in the night - feeling a fierce protectiveness for the little one growing inside, wrapping my arms around my sides - though i didn't have a belly yet - & talking to you in soft whispers when we were alone in the night.
i knew right from the start that you would be a little girl.
The first time i felt you kicking - i remember being startled by your strength. It was still so early to be feeling kicks - & i hadn't been trying to feel anything - when suddenly, there you were, making your presence known. Gently i held my hand on the outside of my abdomen & felt you move again. i closed my eyes & basked in the wonder of it all. That moment is imprinted on my mind forever.
That summer before you were born - was a summer filled with newly wedded bliss. Daddy & i hiked, swam, laughed and loved. We ate fresh fruit off the trees, held hands with intertwining pinkies & went for ice cream.
You grew - & in the night i would curl up behind him with my belly pressed to his back & we would laugh as he would feel you pushing against him. Our little party of 3. We were happy.
The day before you were due, we went hiking - trying not to get our hopes up that you would soon arrive & yet with each braxton hicks contraction, we wondered if this was it. That night, we watched the lunar eclipse & ate fresh grape pie.
i remember waking at 12:42am - with another tightening - bleary eyed, i rose - & my water broke.
In that moment - i knew that we would soon be meeting face to face & the emotion that washed over me fairly swept me away. Dad couldn't hide his excitement when i whispered to him that it was finally time.
We snuck out in the wee hours to our junky car & as daddy turned the key, a cheesy country song blared from his radio... "That girl's been spying on me..." Daddy turned to me and grinned, "It really is gonna be a little girl, isn't it?" i smiled back...
It didn't take long before the tightenings became powerful entities. i felt my body go into autopilot as my mind melted - unable to comprehend the earth shattering events at hand.
Your heartrate dipped with each surge and i felt sure that you must be coming soon. Time was lost completely as i felt my whole body heave and quake and break and tear... i was scared by the sheer force of it all & i remember wondering how it felt for you - being birthed - as i myself was rebirthed and renamed, 'mother'.
Finally - your body slipped from mine - & i heard the doctor's voice say, "She's beautiful... tiny... but beautiful..."
i looked & beheld a lovely pink dolly. Exquisite in perfection, crying with clenched fists and impossibly dainty curled feet.
Your first cries were sweet, plaintive wails & when i held you - we were both shaking.
Minutes, hours, weeks & years have melted into each other - & i find myself here... more than 13 year later... imagining that night again.
Remembering your daddy - brown from working in the sun - snuggling into bed beside us as we slept off our wondrous night. Remembering waking with ravenous hunger - feeling like my belly would never again be full - knowing that i had worked harder than i ever had in my life & by God's grace, i had witnessed a miracle. Remembering curling your tiny pink fingers around my hands - while daddy tickled the bottoms of your bare feet that were dwarfed by his big toe.
Those sweet beginnings have turned into years of growth. Yours & mine... mother & firstborn... The growth of our family - Daddy & i welcoming each of your siblings after you - with the same joy & wonder we welcomed you with.
Growth - as our love has multiplied & spilled over, watering with warm rain from above & secret springs below.
Cai - you are a blessing.
You are a sweet miracle of life.
i am grateful to God for the Grace that brought us you.
i love you.