(You, Maile, age 13 months: Hair in your eyes, bits of mozzarella and raisin on your face, dirty hands.)
Often, I'm completely overwhelmed by how special you are. Of the feeling that swells in my heart for you.
You are ours, sweet girl. Ours. You belong to me and Dada. Ours. Little girl, who hates shoes, who wants her feet to be free. Wee spirit, who has run headlong into toddler hood, with the best belly laugh in the world, and a serious attitude! You still don't have any teeth (though I'm pretty sure you're working on that. right. this. very. moment). You, woofing at birds on our morning walks. Hugging your koala lovie so hard, it looks like its head will pop right off. Fighting me. On so many things lately. Everything it seems, some days. You are ours. Observant girl. Taking it all in. My shadow. You make me want to be a better me. You are ours. As your mama, some days I feel like I have the weight of the world on my shoulders, caring for you, sheltering you, trying my darnedest to give you some semblance of discipline! You entered this world hard. I had to fight to meet you. I want you to see the world through rose-colored glasses. Perfect. Lovely. I want you to grow up and contribute. Often, I wonder if I am unworthy. Why did God choose me for you?
Your dada and I are thinking about giving you a playmate. A brother? Sister? Though we know you love your "dagh!"s and your "cat?" (Cat is always a question. Always.) I am feeling a bit jealous about the whole thing. I want a little more time as the Three Musketeers: you. me. Dada. I love us. We're discussing, your dada and I. But most days, life with you is just so sweet. Exhausting. And sweet.
Can I love another baby the way I love you? Once, I wondered if I could love a baby the way a baby deserves to be loved. But I remember the way it felt when we left the hospital with you. Ours. You were ours. No one tried to stop us from taking you home. What a rush! If I let you take over my thoughts for just a moment, I still feel that rush. It almost hurts. Deep in my chest. Heavy. Crushing, even.
I thank God for you every day, praying I am honoring Him in the way I love you. Being Mama to you, Maile, is beautiful. Even ... maybe especially ... the days it's a beautiful mess. I love being Mama. I love you.