Eleven years ago you entered our world.
Making your voice heard.
Three separate due dates: March 4th (actual), January 28th(for my health), February 6th (for yours).
On Tuesday, February 8, 2000, you decided you’d join us. At your own pace, in your own time; forty two hours of labor, most of it without great progression. Then from 4 to 10 in a hour and six pushes later, you arrived.
I had not allowed myself to fall in love with you. The doctors told me that I carried antibodies that could cause your death if the pregnancy made it to 36 weeks. If. That was the word throughout the weeks you grew and developed. If you made it, if I made it, if my kidneys held out. They told me I wouldn’t get pregnant. I did. At week six they suggested I terminate when bloodwork came back showing more strikes against both of us. I refused. They were wrong. I decided, then and there, that they were wrong. That we’d make it. Together.
Those days were not easy. Anything worth loving never is. I went through full day “morning” sickness and the disease which fought you with antibodies waged war with my organs. We trusted. We prayed. We hoped. We prepared.
A room arranged and painted. A crib assembled and waiting. A rocking chair in place. Your name? Chosen months before you arrived. Little did we know how it would fit you perfectly. He did.
I remember walking into your nursery and standing, letting my gaze flit around, and imagining what you’d sound like there...
My kidneys gave up and they said it was time for you to come. An amino was done. You simply weren’t ready. So I waited. I waited for you.
More drugs given to mature your lungs, another week’s wait.
I remember leaving for the hospital with our bags packed, knowing it was the last time we’d get in the car as two. The silence and darkness in the garage as the door went up and we pulled into unchartered territory.
Two full days in labor; you’d show up when you were ready. Little did I know it was how you’d do most things in your life. At your time, in your space, at your pace; from the start you showed us YOU.
At 9:53 P.M. you entered the world. Daddy cut your cord, Uncle Ryan took your first pictures, and the nurses placed you wrapped in the standard issue blue and pink hospital blanket on my chest. I remember staring in wonder into your bright, inquisitive eyes. Little did I realize that the determination they showed from the start would continue in the years to come. Your gaze, steady, challenged every part of me to do better, be better, love more.
You came into my heart in that moment...The look that passed between us acted as a key and you let yourself in.
I know it isn’t easy being the oldest. I was the oldest. I know you don’t always feel that things are fair. They sometimes are not. I know, in moments, you feel displaced by the sweetness that is your little sister. You are not. You are my firstborn. I will forever love you longest. I know that we battle because we are similar and you strive for justice in everything. It isn’t easy being your age in this world with parents who care more about the state of your heart than your happiness. Someday you’ll be a Mama and you’ll understand. For now, just know how much we love you and that you and your sister are our top priority. Being your Mother is my toughest job. It’s also my greatest privilege. Being your mother is one of life’s greatest gifts, and I don’t take it for granted. Not for a single moment.
...Tuesday’s child is full of grace...
Little did we know when we sat on the bench by the sea and chose your name that no other would so perfectly suit you. Swinging there, feet barely touching the planked boards, we dreamed of you and put your first and middle together. Double favored, how we named you...and then, born on a chilly Tuesday in early February. Perfection.
So, sweet Tuesday's child, with a first and middle name both meaning grace:
May you enjoy your eleventh birthday, my dear firstborn. Life would not be as vibrant, beautiful, or exciting without you in my days. I am thankful for all the parts of you that make you unique and amazing; the fire in your eyes, the determination of you, your love for those around you, your sensitive heart, your out-of-this world abilities, your smile, your laughter, and your serious nature. YOU are fantastic.
I love you,
Mmm-Ma (what you’ve taken to calling me since Mama sounds too young to you these days)