I heard her cry the minute they made the cut to release her from my womb. I heard her cry and felt the protective cloak I wore around my heart tear open and fall away to embrace this tiny, perfect miraculous being.
And my heart took in her cry and my soul acknowledged her presence and my life was made forever richer, brighter, more loving because of her.
When I walked into the hospital on Saturday, June 19th, 1986 I could not imagine what it really meant to ‘be a mother’. I had read all the books, done all the research, asked countless questions of friends who’d walked this path before me. But still, I did not feel prepared. I did not feel in control. Did not feel like I had what it took to take on this sacred duty of being a mother.
And then she cried from within my womb and I knew that nothing could prepare me for the tidal wave of love that washed over me and stole all sense of control I might have imagined I would have in becoming a mother. Nothing could prepare me for the real thing.
Five days later when I walked out as this woman whose identity now included being a mother, I worried I would never be enough, never be capable of nourishing and nurturing this precious bundle of life. Her presence, in the room, in my arms, in the world made my heart beat with such fierceness I felt as if I was drowning beneath the overwhelming need to protect her from all pain, all sorrow, all sadness, all harm.
I wanted only to surround her with joy. To smother her with love. To bathe her in bliss.
But that is not the way of the world. That is not the path of a mother. And so I surrendered to Love and let Love have its way.
I am blessed.
Thirty years ago today, my eldest daughter, Alexis, came into this world. She was 19 days past her due date and I had begun to wonder if perhaps she wanted to stay inside the safe protective space of my womb forever. Little did she know, my heart would be her forever place.
They lifted her out of my womb as she gave a little cry of welcome and then curved her body against my breast and and softly, quietly fell asleep in my arms. There has never been a day since her birth at 10:32pm on this day in 1986 that I have not wanted to hold her against me, to feel her tiny body sleeping next to my heart, and though she has grown now, that place where she lay still feels the warm imprint of her body next to mine. It still feels the undulating waves of love washing over me with the grace of her being in my life.
She is a woman now. Beautiful. Talented. Creative. Kind. Caring. Loving.
She sings like an angel, dances like a fairy queen. She paints and writes and creates beauty and wonder in the world all around.
She is sensitive and gentle. Fiercely loyal. Fiercely proud. Sometimes, she doubts her strength and courage. Always she finds her way through her heart’s capacity to beat to its own drum, march to its own beat, love in its own rhythm.
Always, she watches out for others. Sees the beauty in every soul, the wonder in every breath. She hears the words that are left unspoken, and feels the pain that is left unhealed and knows exactly how to reach out and soothe another’s fears, another’s tears, another’s sadness.
She is intuitive.
She is whimsical.
She is miraculous, just as she always has been. Just as she always will be.
She is a daughter, a grand-daughter, a step-daughter, a sister, a step-sister, a niece, a cousin, a friend. She is so many things and has so many ways of being amazing because she is Alexis.
Happy Birthday my darling daughter. Though the miles may lay between us, I carry you always in my heart. Forever and always.