This second night of you — my arm, covered in dated pastel print, cradles your perfect head with its mouth rounded like an “O” and those cheeks mounds of just right dough.
Your eyes are like your Mama’s, and they make the ground solid because I know those eyes, and I know those taupe sparkles that will grow darker and fringe with brown lashes.
So it’s you, my love.
You are the one we imagined and dreamed. You are the one we talked about when we played the what-part-of-me-and-what-part-of-you game. You are the little girl that lived inside when we wondered again and again, is this life our baby girl or baby boy?
You are the one who listened while Stevie Wonder sang “Ave Maria” and the one who felt your Mama’s cries and the big-palmed touches on the outside and kicked to your Papa’s voice when he sang the song he made just for you.
You are the one I knew from the beginning — wise.
When you lived in me, I thought ready to explode with the fullness and bigness of you all caught up in my insides. My ankles and feet and hands swelled, and my mind and heart filled and filled with the knowing that I could not contain you.
And all that time I grew like a balloon with you inside me, I felt the needing and longing like a rope connecting you to me. A tugging pull from my insides that wanted more, and a pulling that gave me purpose and courage, helped me choose a solid place to stand and hold on.
Last night, when you lay on my chest for the first time, I wailed and gasped and cried joy for it was you.
Your Papa said when you arrived that his whole heart split wide open because there was no longer room enough to contain the love.
How is it that just yesterday our love came pouring out in tears and blood and water and elation and exhaustion, and your Papa and I gripped each other with the spilling all over this new world?
And here now, all this second night, I stir and feel the glorious weight of you on the outside, and at the very moment I look at you, your eyes open. Or maybe your eyes open first to meet mine.
Again and again, we stir, and our eyes meet.
You are miracle, my round faced, big eyed girl.
And my heart. It is thousands of balloons bouncing against each other in the blue sky, tethered and freed by the pull.
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This is sheer beauty, and as heavenly and earthly-true an account of new mothering as I’ve ever read. This remembrance so exquisite Ashley it pushes everything else out of its way! A thousand balloons bouncing against each other!! :) I love you, and I so love the way you write!
You amazingly supportive Mama. I treasure you and your words. xoxo!
Your mama says it all, Ashley.. you’ve really captured this moment. Brought tears to me eyes it’s so true and loving an account. Thank you for the reminder.. mine was so long ago.. it’s good to feel that again. xo Smidge
Thank you so much, Smidge. Yes, it felt so good for me to enter back into that space and hold my girl in that place again.
This is so beautiful Ashley – really! What a gorgeous shot…there is nothing like becoming a mother..nothing :) xox
Thank you so much, Shira. Amen to that.
I was blessed by this as well. Another beautiful granddaughter. You breathe life into each memory.
Writing does breathe life into memories, Papa. One of the reasons I love it so. It was good to linger back here a while again.
This brought back many of my own precious memories that I could never have put into words as you so beautifully did. Thank you, dear Ashley :)
Thank you, Deb. I’m amazed at how much we share in these birth stories of ours — our first moments with these new little lives. Though the circumstances are so different from one another, we are all changed when we hold these miraculous packages in our arms, aren’t we?