Every year since her first birthday, Emily has woken up to balloons on her bed—one balloon for every year. It’s getting more crowded every birthday, of course, but still Tom and I have fun doing it late in the night each April 29th (or 30th!)!
But this year in particular (maybe because I’m all too aware that she’s approaching a huge milestone soon—my baby is entering high school), I found myself still awake at 2:52 am, long after balloons, thinking back to the night she came into this world so fast and furiously. Much of that night is still a blur as it was anything but a calm and peaceful birth and we both had difficulties afterwards, but I do remember one special, amazing moment. One of those moments where you just know in your heart that the world couldn’t be more perfect, where you wish time would stop, just for a second, so you could savor the fleeting perfectness. I remember being wheeled to Labor & Delivery from the ER (where she was born after an ambulance ride because after 13 weeks of bedrest for preterm labor, I was one of those women I used to roll my eyes at who didn’t know that, this time, it was the real thing). While Tom and my doctor walked ahead, I felt like time did stop for me for a moment, and it was just her and me alone in our little world. I so vividly recall holding her in my arms on the gurney, just…staring at her. At her perfect little sweet rosebud lips; her gorgeous, deep auburn hair; her tiny little fingers with their itty bitty, perfect fingernails grasping my hand so tightly as she slept so peacefully, as if she understood how intensely special our bond would be before I even did. I knew only that I loved her so completely, so fiercely—a love so intense and powerful that I felt like it might consume me. I remember actually being afraid that night; I was taken aback by just how deeply I loved her. I knew I would love her, of course—I already DID love her, from the moment I saw those two lines on the stick. But it was the intensity of it that took me by surprise. It felt so much more primal than any love I had ever experienced. That love made me feel more vulnerable that I ever had before, simply because she existed. I’ve used this quote before, but I just have to repeat it as it so perfectly states what I felt that night, and what I will feel until the day I die:
“Making the decision to have a child is momentous.
It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”
From the moment I first saw her, my heart walked outside my body. Emily is the most amazing creature I have ever had the pleasure to meet. She is smart, kind, joyful, and wise. She is my greatest muse. We are so lucky to have her as our child. Happy Birthday, my darling Emily!
And I know this one is weird, but I have to include it just because I think she’ll think it’s different and cool: