Dear Daughter

Updated: Jan 23

You won't remember this - your chest slowly rising, cresting, falling.

As some of your first heartbeats tap gently on my forearm, I imagine the blood rustling through a network of newly formed veins, flushing in your soft cheeks and tinting your nose like a rosebud.

Maybe it's the fluorescent bulbs buzzing overhead in this hospital room or the mist in my eyes, but an unexplainable light emanates off of you.

Your presence, you are luminous.

My heart will forever seek solace in these moments - during your first steps, discovering the sound of your laugh, when those gentle coos thicken with purpose and your first word fills the silence between us.

As those bittersweet milestones chisel themselves in the permanence of time, no matter how things appear, know my every cell surges with pride in you.

On your first day of school, I'll retreat to this room, recalling the silkiness of your delicate hand resting warmly in mine. As you fade from view into an unfamiliar swirl of metal and glass and brick, new hands will reach out to guide you.

There will be a hollowness in my palm.

When that first young man arrives, his rented tux a size too big, pale and anxiety-stricken, I'll usher him in. I'll even extend my hand (maintaining eye contact and checking grip strength, of course).

As you round the corner in a prom dress, the moment will echo in the future and the past - your first dress, your wedding dress. My vision has worsened with age, and I'll convince myself that's why everything is blurry.

He won't be able to appreciate the chrysalis you emerged from, the vibrancy of your wings outstretched and confident.

The way your nose crinkles when you laugh just like your mama, the dimple in your left cheek that runs parallel with your jaw as you smile - each thread of who you are will be sewn into my memory.

I'll come back to the warmth of your tiny frame, swaddled and held close. I'll have to. I’ll need to.

I'll pray for the clarity and strength to know when to hold tight and when to let go.

That soft breath escaping your lips at the first sight of snow, the widening of your eyes when your feet are overcome by the ocean tide, these fleeting moments we have together in this hospital room.

You won't remember, but I always will.

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