I don't think I ever imagined what it would be like to have a four year old. I was so focused on getting through my pregnancy, keeping her alive, nursing, figuring it all out. Oh I was so focused on that day-to-day, I couldn't look up - I couldn't imagine what was coming.
I remember her being born like it was yesterday. That labor was like a dream - my 6:30am wakeup call on a Friday, the long silence of Hypnobirthing labor, the hour and fifteen minutes of hard work pushing her out - pushing her out to Brandi Carlile's The Story (which I found from this birth video and story).
That first six weeks of her life is burned into my mind too. Such clarity of focus, such intense love and joy and praising: oh finally, finally! I had waited my whole life to become a mother and she christened me so kindly. I remember it all: the chocolate cake every day at 2:12pm, episodes of LOST always on, the sound of the chimes of my new washer/dryer as they ran ran ran constantly with new baby laundry, the cool air blowing in over Grandma Mary's vintage couch.
It's only gotten harder from there - and sometimes I get really scared when I think how much higher the stakes are going to get, how much more complicated the issues. I am afraid that I fail a great deal in being the mother I should be; I am, in fact, often stunned by the depths of my own failings. I am often shocked at you too - you, Susannah, natural heir to my occasional writings here. You are suddenly...you. You are yourself. You are not me - although for so long you were, you were just an extension, as natural as my arm or nose. You are now yourself and claiming that boldly. I'd be more proud if I could stop being so hurt by the growing pains.
It's hard. You're the oldest child I have on this earth, so naturally I expect so much of you - sometimes, too much. I often fumble, I am reaching out a hand to find my bearings, and before I catch myself I'm trampling on you in the process. I worry, oh I worry, and your dad and I spend so much time talking, praying, talking, praying - for you, for help, for guidance, for the ability to give you whatever you need, for you to be shielded from our foibles.
It's good too. I love getting to know you, I love showing you the parts of the world that I love, I love that you get as excited about books as you do about toys. I love seeing your imagination develop, seeing how you crave stories, make up worlds, live in them and believe in them deeply. I know these stories, this newfound independence, this self I am helping you discover will lead you into the deepest and greatest mystery: union with the Triune God, who is all that is Good and Beautiful and True.
Susannah, your birth was the beginning of the best part of my life and every day, even when I am frustrated, I am beyond thrilled to be your mother.