I wrote the following letter to my daughter on her first birthday. It inspired the name of this blog, and for that I find it fitting to start from here.
To My Sweet Lovely Girl Carolina:
12 months ago, I didn’t know you. I didn’t know what you would look like, sound like, smell like. I didn’t know what you would feel like in my arms. My sweet girl, there is so much I did not know. There is so much I did not even dream about because, I realize now, my dreams were not that big. I look back and wonder what filled my thoughts when you were dancing around in my belly. I wish I could remember the life I made up in my head, the ways we would spend our days, the things I wanted to hear you say. I simply cannot. It is as if those thoughts were written on my brain in a language I no longer speak.
The truth is, 12 months ago it wasn’t just you I didn’t know. I didn’t know me either. But in the past twelve months you have awakened me; you have filled me with so much more than love. You have filled me with something that makes my smiles feel more honest and my tears feel wetter and my laughs go deeper into my belly. Something that makes me feel so heavy and so light at the same time. Something electric that makes me painfully aware of all that is around me- the beauty, the darkness. The shortness of the days that sometimes seem so long. The fragility of life. The unbelievable luck in being healthy. That life moves both fast and slow and we must enjoy it both ways. Caring for you, and worrying about you, and being the one person in the world that you call mother, it is both a privilege and a burden. The most delicious, deepest, heaviest, most invigorating burden. I carry it so happily, my love. So happily. And so gratefully. And I carry it humbly, because even though I am the one in charge, you are teaching me things I never knew; you are reminding me of things about life and family that I lost along the way. My life as your mom is one step on the other side of my biggest dreams. You have made me capable of a happiness that I never had the language to think up.
When you are snuggled into my neck and just about to doze off for the night, I like to tell you things. I like to tell you things I know you cannot understand, but I hope somehow you are processing, somehow are becoming part of your spirit. I tell you I am proud of you, I tell you that you make me happy. I tell you that you are funny and lovely. I tell you simple things that feel good to hear. Things that I hope one day you love about yourself.
The other day you lay heavy and limp over my shoulder, and I said to you,
You make my days feel more lived in.
Whatever gifts I give to you in this life, I am not sure I could match that. So thank you. And I promise not to waste that gift.