When I was pregnant with you, I was terrified of the ways you would change my life. I remember sitting at lunch with my boss, talking about my fears. "I will never get to be alone with my husband again," I said, imagining an unwanted intruder. And I will always remember how he, a father of two girls, responded, because they were the wisest words I have ever heard about parenthood. Having a child, he said, is like falling in love again. What you lose in intimacy with your spouse, you gain 100 times over in the love affair you have with your child. The truth in those words nearly makes me cry.
I never imagined how much I could love you, how much I would want to share my life with you. I love the curve of your belly and the sheen of your dark hair. I love the joy in your face when you smile, and the sound of your voice squealing "Mommy!" as I arrive home from work. A few minutes ago, I heard you get out of bed and tromp to the bathroom, and I loved the sound of of your feet hitting the floor, even the sound of you peeing. I love that you are alive, running and laughing and sleeping and eating in my house. I don't know how I ever lived without this kind of love.
I love all your adorable mispronunciations. You cannot pronounce the sound "th," and so mother becomes "muller," weather becomes "weller." I love that, in our house, a place that is very dark is called "fardark." I love the way so many of your sentences start with the word actually ("Ack-sha-lee, I really know how to put on my own clothes."), and the way so many end with ... or something ("or sumsin'"). I even love the hint of teenage churlishness in your new question, "Why do you always ... ?" I love the way you tell me, "I love you, Mommy," dozens of times a day.
This past weekend, you miraculously learned to swim. After being terrified of putting your head under water or swimming without a floatie, you suddenly yanked that thing off and started going for it. As I watched you kicking and paddling, your whole body jerking side to side with the effort, your dark hair plastered to the top of your head, I was almost overwhelmed with love and pride. I went to a meditation retreat a few months ago, and at the end, our teacher chanted one phrase over and over: "All I ask of you, is to remember me, for loving you." That is all I ask of you, Mia. If you remember only one thing about your childhood, remember how much you were loved.