Darling Susannah -
Somehow, here we are. Six months of motherhood and babyhood and fatherhood...together.
The day she was born
[I would like to say that I did find the only picture in existence of she and I on the day of her birth...man, I was lookin' ROUGH. Also, I now understand why my husband was convinced she was born with some sort of deformity and was telling himself it would all be okay, we'd love her no matter what...she did have a bit of a cone head. ]
Six months of falling in love with a whole new person, six months of getting to know someone who had been with me for nine already, six months of realizing that God was true to his word - my vocation would fulfill me more than the world's empty promises ever could.
Six months of realizing that all the order and discipline that I had in mind for children didn't take into account that you were a person, with needs all your own. The greatest lesson that you have taught me so far has been that I am just a steward of the greatest treasure on earth; I don't own nor can I control you, and though I have a hand in your path, you are a unique person with your own calling from God. My role is to train you to listen to and follow Him.
By now, I am even more enthralled and in love with you. You are a gift to the world - everyone who meets you is given the grace to see the joy of children, of life! You have already been witnessing to the Truth that children a blessing - because that is what you are.
I hope you always know that I love being your mom. I wish I could say that I've never been cross or frustrated with the (beautiful) burden of motherhood, but that isn't true. (case in point - I've already been interrupted twice in this very blog post!) I have had moments where I wished you would sleep, or not cry, or not need me so much. But I am, in the end, always glad you do...even if the end is only much much later, when I'm getting some much-needed time to be by myself.
I love to cuddle under the quilt together - the quilt your dad and I bought in New Brunswick, when we were on our honeymoon and praying that you would be sent to us soon. If it's too hot for that (which it often is, despite my love of - and your father's indulgence of my love of - AC), I still enjoy wrapping you in the grey knit blanket we bought just for you in Prince Edward Island, also on our honeymoon. You were always in our thoughts...before God even created you. You are the child for whom we prayed - you and Francis, of course. We commend you daily to Francis' care, since we know as your sibling s/he will take extra notice of you.
I love kissing your downy head while you sleep on my chest, and I can barely stand how beautiful your I-just-woke-up face is. I really enjoy cuddling you right after you wake up - when my kisses sometimes make your eyes heavy and you fall back asleep for a little bit longer. Those moments - I don't know what to do with them, I overflow with joy and am at a loss! Your beauty leaves me speechless, so often.
I can barely get enough of watching your dad make you laugh, which is his favorite thing to do. He loves to play "baby in the mirror" with you (where he takes you to any mirror in the house and asks you over and over again 'who's that baby in the mirror? who??'). In the morning, he hangs with you and takes you to 'the best show in town' - i.e., feeding the dog, which you really enjoy watching. You two have many songs you sing together, but I love it best when we all together as a family sing:
Immaculate Mary, your praises we sing
You reign now in Heaven
with Jesus our King
Ave, Ave, Ave Maria
Ave, Ave Maria
We sing that every night, along with another (liturgically appropriate) Marian hymn. You like to sing along and we love that. You watch our mouths and move your mouth and I dream of the day you'll lisp the Hail Mary at my side, just like I see other wee ones doing with their mamas.
Everyone has a great calling from God, Susannah. Some people must journey very far and long to discover theirs; others know it right away. For some, even finding it, happiness is denied them and it is their suffering that spurs them to holiness. We do not know until the very end what exactly was the grand design of the Creator - the beautiful story he was weaving with our lives and the lives of all those we touched. We must be simple and only ask what we should do each day...
And yet, though I cannot see the whole of my life and I am still very young, I do know this: you are an integral part of my calling. To be your mother, and your father's wife, is my greatest calling - my great mission. You are the treasure God has entrusted to me to keep safe, to bring to him having grown you well and faithfully.
I am humbled by this gift, a gift I cannot possibly merit.
You gave me the gift of motherhood - you will forever be my firstborn, my first child-love, my darling Zuzu-girl. I love you.