Every Little Piece

Emilia,

It’s been a while since I’ve written a letter like this. This one is important to me and it’s something I need to write down to remember to enforce every day in myself.

The first time I looked in the mirror and saw beauty there, I was in my 20’s. I have heard the word my entire life, but it was the first time I saw it myself. With naked lashes and spotty skin, I admired the shape of my jaw, the strength of my chin, the size of my eyes… I saw someone who I could love.

Now that I have you (and you are what it took to see myself clearly) I realize how important it is to feel that way. How important it is to bury that self-love deep into your soul.

From this point on I will make up for all of those years I missed. I will love myself now, because now is where we exist; you and I in this moment that we’re so lucky to have.

I am not perfect, but I am beautiful. I am strong. I am confident.  I am secure.

You are all of these things, too. Right now. In all of your two-year old glory. You are SO fierce. So beautiful and strong. You will do it “all by yourself.” And you do, you almost always do. At the same time, you don’t hesitate to ask for help when you need it. I admire you so much for that. You’ve taught me that strength comes not only from independence, but recognizing limits and seeking support.

When I told you your hair was crazy, you corrected me right away, “No, my hair is BEAUTIFUL, Mom.”

And it was. You are always beautiful.

Your anger is beautiful and a force of its own. You lash out, you scream, you don’t want to be touched or spoken to. I stay back, but still as near as I can. I sit there with my arms open and my lap waiting and you come to me, you crawl into it and your hug is just as powerful. I love you so much then. I love every tear that spills over, every scream that rocks my core. You’re so beautiful in that moment it breaks my heart.

Your love is beautiful and more gentle than I ever would have expected. You caress my face and pat my hair and look deep into my eyes. “You love me mommy?” Yes, baby, I love you so so so much! “I love you so much, too. I’ll keep you safe.” Emi, my fierce little girl, that will never be your job. I will always be your  mother, you will never have to take my responsibility onto your shoulders. Broad like mine, yet so delicate, you will always be free to be a kid.

That little sigh you make right before you fall asleep, the way your breath hitches twice; your hand gripping mine from the backseat as my arm goes numb; the way you sing E I, E I, O; the way your whole face frowns; the way you smile all the way to your toes; the color of your skin and your hair and your eyes and your lips and your nail beds; your very faint scar; your endless bruises; your baby teeth gap; your voice; your cry; it is all so very, very beautiful.

By the time you are old enough to read this, Taylor Swift probably won’t be music you listen to, but you’ll know every word to this song anyway.

I love you, little big girl.

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Every Little Piece

On The Eve Of Two

Today you are one. Tomorrow you will be a big girl. A bigger girl. Somehow at two the world has decided you take up too much space to be a baby anymore and you’ll become something else. Someone with her own seat, Someone with her own ticket, someone who needs her own menu… Not quite a baby, not quite a kid, just somewhere in between the spaces.

It’s surreal.

As I write this I feel the tears coming on. They’re going to spill over and if you catch me sitting here crying you’ll climb up onto this unfamiliar bed, put your still 1 year old hands on my cheeks and you’ll ask me “Mommy is sad?”

“No,” I’ll say. “Yes.” I’ll decide. “Both.” I’ll finally understand.

Because I am sad. I am sad that I am losing my baby so soon after I lost the baby I thought would make it easier. Because, in a selfish way, it is sad to watch you grow up. It’s heartbreaking to know every day you are one day closer to going your own way, and that every decision I make now is geared towards preparing you for that time.

But I’m happy, too. So happy! I laugh so much because of you. Today you sang songs in the car I didn’t even know you knew and I thought my heart might explode. Because you are bigger. Because every day you do something to amaze me. You take my breath away and you fill me with joy. Because without you I wouldn’t have been able to survive losing something so precious. And even so, without that loss I might not appreciate all of this so much.

Baby girl, my baby for a few more hours, I love you so much. You are everything I could have ever asked for. You are my soul. My bright eyed, independent, fierce little girl who’s got my chin and my smile and my eyes. You’ve got your dad’s tenacity and intelligence and cheeks. You are the best and the worst of us and you make it perfect. My little big girl, I am so lucky to have you.

So tonight while you are still my baby, my only baby, I’ll cry a little but I’ll laugh a lot. Because I love you as big as the moon, as much as the stars, as endless as the universe!

 Tomorrow you will be two.

Too much.

Much too big.

A big girl.

My bigger girl.

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On The Eve Of Two

Between Big and Little

My blog name is now outdated. That pacifier? She gave it up weeks ago. Barely batted an eye. We said, “You don’t need this,” and she believed it. Like we knew what we were talking about, like we know anything.

She used to ask me to kiss her hurts, lately she just kisses them herself.

“Ouch. Aw better.”

So this is parenthood. This shift, this push, this pull, this constant changing. Ready or not…

“I love you, Baby.”

“Lo’ ‘ou, Mommy.”

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Between Big and Little