I am still reeling in the happiness of this past Mother’s Day. The third year now that I have celebrated as a mom. The first year celebrating with my littlest girl. And the best part about being a mom for the second time is knowing how awesome this little human being will become. At three months, Reese does a lot of staring up at the ceiling, watching the shadows play and change shapes. She likes to smile and silently laughs with her mouth wide open, her head cocked to the side, when she hears the familiar high-pitched voices of me and her big sister only inches away from her face. She has a firm, tight grip and will grasp anything that brushes along her fingertips. But other than that, she (fortunately) does a whole lot of sleeping, and only really fusses when it’s time for her to eat, which is absolute clock-work like her sister was before her. She is a pretty pleasant, low-maintenance extension of our family and we don’t really know a great deal about her outside of that. We don’t know her favorite color or her favorite meal. We don’t know if she will have allergies or if she will play sports. We don’t know if she will like to dance or listen to music or swim. We don’t know if she prefers the winter or the summer, the beach or the pool, the sun or the shade. We don’t know what her voice sounds like. What her handwriting looks like. We know virtually nothing about this amazing person, yet feel an unexplainable amount of love for her. She has never even reached out to hold my hand, has never hugged me back, but I know, if needed, I would risk my own life to ensure her safety. I would exhaust all efforts to make her happy, healthy, to keep her that way.
I remember wondering what my first daughter’s voice would sound like. And now I can recognize a whisper of hers in a crowd. I can decipher which cry is fake, which is tired or sad or in pain. I ache to hear it when I am away from her and then, when I’m missing her, that’s all it takes on the receiving end of the phone to make me almost crumble.
The best part about being a mom for the second time is knowing how awesome this little human being has become. At two-and-a-half, Emma does a lot of running around, from her room, to the bathroom to grab books from a basket next to the tub, to the laundry room to check on her blanket and whether or not it’s dry, to the rug that sits on the floor in the corner of her room to thumb through more books. She does a lot of talking, with her hands and the most animated expressions. And a lot of it, even I don’t understand, though I translate most of the garbled words f0r all of those around her. But she has perfected the ‘S’ sound at the end of ‘YES’ and towards the end of ‘PLEASE’. She gets frustrated when I don’t quite know what she means. She is proud of me when I use a combination of deductive reasoning and charades to solve the mystery of what it is that she sees and absolutely needs to tell me about. I know her favorite colors are pink and purple, though on some days, it is blue. I know her favorite meal is salmon and she asks her grandpa to cook it for her every time she is over his house for dinner. I know that she has super sensitive skin that gets increasingly itchy in the warm weather. I know that she loves to kick around a soccer ball and climb on the monkey bars that are too high for someone her age. I know that she loves to dance by herself and with her dad in the kitchen while he washes dishes. I know her favorite songs and the lyrics to them by heart. I know that she loves to swim or attempt to swim, but the motions she makes in the water are priceless. I know she loves the winter and the summer, the snow and the sand, the beach and the pool, the sun more than the shade. I know her voice as if it is the same as my own, like I have gotten the chance to know it over the past thirty years instead. I know that her handwriting is a mix of circles and happy faces and deep, wide lines. I know virtually everything about this amazing person and feel an unexplainable amount of love for her. She reaches out to hold my hand in a room full of strangers and to cross the street. She hugs me back and I’m always the last to let go. I would risk my own life to ensure her safety. I exhaust all efforts to make her happy, healthy, to keep her that way, each and every day.
I remember doing a lot of guessing when I became a mother for the first time. A lot of dreaming and hoping and learning. And questioning, whether or not I was doing things right, whether or not I could be doing them better. What my kid would be like. And in the midst of all this curiosity they grow up; from the three-month-old I barely knew, to the two-and-a-half-year-old I know so well. And the ride in between has been the greatest journey in my life thus far.