She was born seven years ago today -- tonight, actually, at 9:10PM. Seven years ago, to riff off of my business name, a mom was born. And as a mom, I've learned so much, now that I'm a mom 3 times. With my youngest, a mere 23 days old, if she begins to cry while I'm in the shower, it's OK. If I opt to stay in bed, nursing while half asleep in the pre-dawn hours instead of changing her heavy diaper, it's OK.
But my oldest was colicky the minute she came out of my body, and she remained stubbornly so until she was about 4 months old. As she wailed for hours, I would rock her, nearly begging her to tell me how I could make things better, because if she would just tell me what it was she needed, I'd move mountains to get it for her. Nearly hallucinating from lack of sleep while riding a post-partum rollercoaster, I would look at her and be so overwhelmed by her tiny might, yet so frightened of the powerful love and obligation I felt for her. I would alternate between wanting to put her back in my body to protect her and then wanting to completely shut off my feelings for her so that I would never hurt for her, dream for her, hope for her, or disappoint her.
And even though today we celebrate her seventh birthday, she will always be my first, taking me on my first trip around the block of motherhood. It's a burden she must carry, as the child whom her parents learn off of, who in the mix of sisterhood and birth order will always be the one who should "know better."
But she is also the one who holds my heart captive, who opened my eyes to miracles and all that the world has to offer, who taught me what it means to belong wholly to another human being. She split my heart open like the little bean plant she grew from a seed in her science class, reaching out and upward for the sun.
Happy Birthday, to the one who made me a mother.