One of the universal sentiments other parents expressed to me while I was pregnant with you was how quickly you will grow up. Of course, I knew this because I’ve watched your sister grow, but the sentiment was renewed with you. I found out I was pregnant with you at a tapas bar in Seville on a vacation that feels recent. My pregnancy seemed short until the end, when I was so ready to meet you. Your birth feels like it could have been yesterday. And already my first months with you cozied up together on the couch or reading at a cafe as you nursed feel like a chapter that began and ended with the long Michigan winter, with its short days and freezing temperatures and you constantly in my arms.
At nearly four months, you rarely get into fetal position when I pick you up — your eyes don’t squint, you don’t bring your balled-up fists to your temples and tuck your knees up and cross your feet at the ankles. Instead, you look at me and smile and sometimes you make gutteral baby sounds that trigger all of my hormones and make me want to go back to the beginning, when I held you and fed you all day. Now you are happy on your stomach, arching your chest to the sky and pressing your forearms into the ground and taking in all that is around you with raised eyebrows. You are happy on your back, too, and just learned to grab your toes last weekend. You are opening.
I recognize the privilege of witnessing you grow from concept to fetus to infant, and while I would never wish for anything but your progress, your rapid development is a reminder of how fleeting life is.
One of my very favorite children’s books by one of my very favorite children’s authors came out last year: Here We Are by Oliver Jeffers, written to his son in the first two months of his son’s life. I gave this book to you and your sister for Christmas. In the book, Jeffers makes an effort to introduce his child to some basic truths about Earth, science, people. He writes, “Things can sometimes move slowly here on Earth. More often, though, they move quickly, so use your time well. It will be gone before you know it… Now, if you need to know anything else… just ask. I won’t be far away. And when I’m not around… you can always ask someone else. You’re never alone on Earth.”
Like Jeffers offering his son some wisdom (and beautiful illustrations), I am excited to give this blog and these words to you, as well as your sister, in an effort to share some things that I believe to be true. And whether these are your truths or not, I hope you know that no matter how you grow and change and test and rebel, my love for you will always be unconditional. Welcome to the family, fierce little lady.