As someone who writes on a regular and somewhat professional basis, I experience major anxiety when writing about topics that are truly important to me. A post about fall vests? An awesome sale? Adopting a new look? Quick and easy writing. But writing a post on the love I have for my newborn daughter is a bit more challenging. That love is indescribable, after all, and that poses a problem. How, exactly, does one put it into words? And how does one do it as perfectly as possible, with eloquence, organization and meaning?
Here’s the thing, though: I’ll never be able to do it perfectly. When I look back on some of my most personal posts–posts about breaking points, posts about love lost, posts about love found, posts about coming to a crossroads, posts about heartbreak and posts about days that changed my life forever–none of ’em are without fault. Yes, I spent a lot of time considering angles and carefully choosing my words for them, but when I look back, they’re all riddled with stuff I’d change.
I wasn’t clear enough about this. I suppose someone could take this the wrong way. OH MY GOD. I SHOULD HAVE USED A SEMI-COLON THERE. That’s not really what I was trying to convey. Seriously? I sound like a lunatic here. That was the best conclusion I could come up with?! For heaven’s sake. That’s one blaring typo I somehow missed. Stop drinking the vino!
Take this post. I already know that when I look back on it one day, I’ll hate that I asked so many questions in the first three paragraphs. Asking readers too many questions helps me avoid making clear and definitive statements. It’s safe–and wimpy–writing. And it’s annoying. Don’t you think? (Haha. Jokes.) I’ll also hate that I simply sat down and wrote it; I didn’t even attempt to plan or organize my thoughts beforehand. Because planning is hard!
And those are just a few reasons that I often put off writing these posts, despite how much I enjoy the process. (Write about something immeasurable tonight or go with vests tonight? VESTS!) What I love so much about blogging, though, is that I can always try again. As I sit here at 1 a.m., having not started talking about the point of this post despite being on my fifth paragraph, this is a pretty nice thought. ;)
So I’m just going to write. And tomorrow, I might write more about the topic, because there’s just no way I’m going to be able to do it justice. Or I might not, because it’ll be Friday, and I have a pretty fun night planned with my parents, Mitch, Emma, Jess and Neal!
Here we go:
From Instagram: Rainy days with my little girl. Messy hair, no makeup, stained t-shirt, and a leftover baby bump/pooch. But can I tell you? It’s the happiest I’ve ever been, and I wouldn’t haven’t any other way.
When I was pregnant, I definitely loved the little boy or girl growing inside me. But I have to be honest: I didn’t feel a true connection. While I saw the sonograms and heard the little heartbeat (and felt tremendous excitement), everything just seemed so surreal. Even during my last week of pregnancy, I found it hard to believe that soon, I’d have a little boy or little girl in my arms. I loved the baby, but I hadn’t yet met him or her… and so it was an abstract love.
Still, I worried whether there was something wrong with me. Wasn’t I supposed to feel a deeper connection? Would I feel one once the baby was born?
And then August 3rd arrived. The baby came out, and her tiny body was placed on my chest. In an instant, my whole world changed. And yes, I realize how hokey and trite that might sound, but I suppose there’s a reason phrases like that are so overused. My heart loved her so much that I physically felt it. And I’m not just saying that to emphasize my point. You know that butterfly feeling you get when you’re falling in love? It was like that, coupled with the love you feel for that person after years and years of togetherness. I felt all the love at once.
I remember being so overwhelmed by this that I couldn’t stop crying. I also remember asking the doctor whether my reaction was normal. She told me that yes, it was very normal. ;) Which made me think of a story my parents have told me so many times: that when I was first born, they couldn’t stop staring and marveling at me. And that once, during a hardcore staring session, someone said something along the lines of, “Is she really that perfect, or do we just love her so much?” Whenever they’d tell this story, I’d be all like, “Guuuuys.” ;) But in that moment, as Emma breathed her little breaths into my shoulder, I truly understood.
She was perfect.
I’d always liked kids. But you know those people who absolutely adore kids? I probably wasn’t one of ’em. Until I met Emma. It was–and is–pure adoration. Just like my parents, I couldn’t stop staring. When she wasn’t in my arms, I missed her. And when she was, I kept asking Mitch, “Can you believe how perfect she is?”
Fast forward a month and a half, and I am amazed that I somehow love Emma even more than I did on that first day. It’s rocking her to sleep in my arms. It’s seeing her with her father. It’s watching her marvel at lights. It’s strolling her around the neighborhood. It’s singing songs and dancing around the house with with her. It’s tickling her cheeks and seeing her smile. (Did I mention she’s started smiling?!) It’s picking her up. It’s feeding her. It’s getting her dressed. It’s talking to her. It’s snuggling with her. It’s watching her grow and change.
Before I became a parent, I wondered how I’d fare with such a major life change. I mean, let’s be serious: before kids, you can live your life relatively selfishly. You can do what you want, when you want. And to have that stripped away was a bit unsettling. But once Emma was in my arms, those feelings fell to the wayside. I had a new purpose.
A reality check: Do I still do things for myself? Absolutely, yes. I still do the things I enjoy and I’m the same person I was before. I see my friends, I go out, I run this blog, I work, I play the guitar, I explore the city, I take photographs, I talk on the phone, I watch television, I listen to music, and I–gasp–do things without Emma once in a while. I’m still me.
But I’m different, too. It’s not that I’ve lost my “old self” to my “mom self.” It’s that the two selves and all that love have come together, and I’m complete. Or something like that.
It’s getting really late, and I’m starting to feel badly because once again, I don’t feel like I’ve written today’s post with enough eloquence, organization and meaning. But I’ll say this:
Over the last month and a half, I’ve learned that a parent’s love is indescribable. It’s an unshakable love, and one that will be rooted in the depths of my heart forever. And maybe one day, if the internet still exists in this form when my daughter is older, she’ll read this and say something along the lines of, “Mommmmm…”
And then maybe many days after that, when she holds her own child in her arms for the first time, she’ll understand.
I love you, Emma.