Unlike your brothers, I was requesting an invitation from you before I even knew you had chosen me. Faith wrested with fear that I wouldn’t have a daughter and if I didn’t, I was convinced I had to be the reason why. Maybe you wouldn’t find me capable of bringing you to where you were meant to be? Maybe that place wasn’t on this side, with me?
With each other.
When I found out you were coming, my anxiety was growing inside of me faster than you were. I kept questioning if I was good enough. Can I be the mother you need when I am critically failing at providing what I need for myself? Can I model all of the things I would want for you when they’re not always within reach for me? What if you had my sensitivity gene? What if you inherited my intensity and quickly found out that there is a fierce price to pay for living loudly? My excitement turned into fear that swallowed my capacity to sit still in every way I projected how I would eventually fail or disappoint you.
Do you remember that night when everyone left the hospital and it was just you and I? I do. I will never forget it. I looked at you and faced my fear of telling you my truth. That I have broken pieces inside of me that may not ever heal and because of those pieces, it’s possible they could bruise you too. I cried and you stared. I was full of panicked emotion and you laid in my arms at peace. I wanted you to know who you chose while you wanted me to know that you already knew.
Your tenacious refusal to accept anything but me the entire first year of feeding was your first offering of acceptance. I remember going to every medical appointment waiting to hear the inevitable conclusion that I was failing as your mother. Their responses were the words you couldn’t relay to me (yet).
I was enough for you.
Do you remember when I nearly fell down the stairs, trying to show you a picture? I wanted approval that we were one of the same. Your bald head at nearly two years old, your blue eyes and the faint freckles on your face. In that moment, I thought about every trait I didn’t like about myself and began praying they wouldn’t become yours. Except, you would pull your stool up beside me as I got ready and say, “You pretty mommy.” I would look down at you and realize those same eyes were once the very eyes I used to see out of. You were reminding me that like you, I was pretty too. You taught me that if I denied my esteem, I was denouncing yours.
Do you remember the nights I couldn’t sleep so I would find comfort in watching you? No soon after I would walk into the room, you would wake up. It didn’t matter how quiet. It didn’t matter how still. You would sit straight up, look at me and reach your arms out as if you knew I was aching for an embrace.
You’re fearless and always were. Your determination is unmatched and you strive to feel attached to everything in life. You’re shy when complimented and self-assured only when feeling safe. You’re sensitive and innately compassionate. You’re funny and surprise everyone with your tender wit.
I am just as afraid today as I was when I found out you were on your way. I’m slowly coming to terms with the fact that the fear will likely never go away. I am also learning that my fear is what has fueled every motivation to be the best woman I can be. So that when you have your own child, your midnight whispers are of confidence and not wrought in fear. So that the next time you pull your stool up beside me, you see what I want you to see in yourself. That when you hear you’re sensitive, that you remember the world is suffering without intensely compassionate people who need you. Your fearlessness at the tender age of three reminds me of the distant time I was fearless too.
I don’t know that I’ve been what you needed, but you show me in multiple ways that I am what you want regardless. You’re my only daughter and it’s a relationship unlike any other relationship I will ever know in my lifetime. Every day that I have you, I am grateful that with all of the mothers you could have chosen that you chose me.
You have already filled my shoes and I am on my way to filling yours.
So many moments and milestones have passed, while my fear still accompanies us along for the ride. What I want you to know on our birth-day is that I undoubtedly know with absolute certainty that while I was requesting your invitation, you were requesting mine. We both accepted.
Happy Birth~day Autumn. Thank you for showing me that even when faith wrestles with fear, sometimes faith actually wins.
Your hopelessly flawed but chosen mother.
In love & truth,