Ten years ago, a miracle. A baby girl.
This bundle was not just any baby girl. She was you - Emma Grace, my second child, the girl I had always wanted. Sam, penis and all, had come three and a half years earlier and I had loved celebrating and living his boyhood. However, this time around I wished for, prayed for a girl. Dresses, pigtails, gingham nightgowns, bubble gum pink-painted walls.
What I remember most about your birth was that it was fast and furious and the epidural didn’t take. The pain led me to scream obscenities in the pushing phase. I remember the smirk on my doctor’s face when he smugly said, “My, I’ve never seen this side of you.” Well, no shit. I’m pushing an 8 lb, 3 oz watermelon out of a hole the size of your eyeball.
When it was time, I pulled you out of my body. Really, I did. All those years of being a gymnast finally paid off. Right when your little head crowned, the doc told me to reach down. I grabbed you underneath your baby bird shoulders and lifted you onto my belly. The most amazing feeling I have ever had in my life was lifting you up and feeling you leave my body and enter the world (sorry, no pictures).
Here’s you and Sam. He loved you before you were even born. Yes, you guys bicker, but your bond is undeniable. You’ll carry that with you. You’ll never have another brother, so don’t forget how important he is. Does it get cuter than this?
“Emma” - Your name fits you. Stoic. Strong. Feminine. You probably haven’t looked it up on the Urban Dictionary (or I hope you haven’t) but here’s what they say:
Derived from Germanic ermen meaning "whole" or "universal.” Very artistically talented. One who has no true idea of her true beauty, both inside and out.
It’s possible there is nothing sweeter than you in those early years. Pure butterball loveliness. Where Sam was robust, clever, precocious and attention- seeking, you were quiet, unassuming and shy. Never having been this way myself, you pulled at my heart strings and drew me in with those big blue eyes and your peaceful yet strong nature.
You lost all of her hair at about nine months and everyone thought you were a boy. Idiots. What boy wears a jean jumper? Well, maybe Perez Hilton.
But soon enough, no one would ever mistake you for the opposite gender again. Your beauty, inside and out, paved the way.
Over the years you have found her voice and your confidence. You are self assured. Compassionate. Feisty. Ornery. Willful. Loving. Strong.
And you can run a 10K in 1:07, but that’s just me bragging.
Today I woke you up and gazed at your round face, seeing it as a baby face again.
You asked me if I would cry at you wedding. “Of course,” I said. “Not because I will be sad, but because I will be happy, proud, full to the tip top with feelings.” You panicked and said, “If you are going to cry I will never get married.”
I went on to tell you, “And, I will cry when you graduate from college and I will cry when you turn ten years old.” Again, this upset you. In you little world crying is bad, a sign of sadness, upset, dismay. You are so compassionate, you never want to see anyone sad.
“Em,” I told you, “I am crying because I am emotional. Because it is bitter sweet. You are growing up and turning into more of who you are and I love that, but it also means you are inching away from me little by little.”
You will understand this more when you are a mom. But, for now, don’t worry about it. Just slap me upside the head and get me some Kleenex.
I know you say you’ll always live with me at home and I know you won’t. But, promise me:
- We’ll keep having our long conversations about why fourth grade girls are so mean and dramatic. Soon enough those conversations will be about boys and periods and birth control (eek!) and planning weddings and strollers.
- You’ll never stop singing and dancing your way through life. Your spirit rocks this house!
- You’ll keep writing because you are gifted and maybe you can have a blog called Shut Up and Run Because My Mom Said So.
- You’ll remember all the lessons we talk about: make lemons out of lemonade, the cream always rises to the top, hold your head up high, don’t make mountains out of molehills. Yes, your mom likes clichés.
Couldn’t love you more,