There are many things I never realized before bringing my daughter into the world.
I didn’t know I had it in me to get up every morning at 6 a.m. and be a cheerful human being for the start of my baby’s day.
I didn’t know I would spend more intimate time with my washer, drier and dishwasher than my own husband.
I really didn’t know I’d resort to plugging a breast pump into the power outlet of my car, even commit the traffic violation of pumping while driving — then ask myself what on earth would I say if an officer pulled me over.
And no one ever told me I’d be chasing this little being in hopes of snagging a leg with the opening of a garment to dress her as she crawled in full sprint.
Or those dreaded snaps in the diaper area of her clothing, how I deftly accomplish one whole leg only to realize I’m out of alignment just as she tries to roll over and crawl off the diaper table.
How can she be so quick and strong already?
I never realized those cute little baby booties, hats, socks, dresses, sweaters and onsies would become such got-to-have-them heart-melts. She’s not even a year old, and I already have nostalgia attached to 0-3 months clothes.
And no one could ever have explained to me how perfectly her middle bends to wrap around my waist as I rock her, how the bend of my arm is a perfect pillow for her as she rests, or how she sits perfectly on my hip as I tote her from room to room.
She and I fit like Jenga puzzles. The curves of my female body, even my plump belly where she used to be, suddenly make sense in ways they never did before.
I’m surprised to discover how sometimes she feels so light and small when I lift her up, other times she feels heavy, more like a little girl than a baby, and already so wise.
It’s amazing how such a small individual can keep two grownups so busy, and how her smile and laugh give us amnesia. What ever made us happy before?
And people did tell me my love for her would be so fierce, I’d be willing to jump in front of a moving train for her; I guess I just never realized how true that feeling really is.
To think I was given the honors seeing her notice her own shadow for the first time. Hers and mine danced on her bedroom wall one late afternoon.
To think I was there as she discovered she could fog up the glass door with her own breath. Or to think I got to witness her first discovering the cold of snow.
It was a privilege to be holding her when she first batted the pine bough of a seedling, then smiled.
That I got to be with her as she tasted avocado, or cantaloupe, or maple syrup for the first time.
I never fully realized how often I would break a sweat preparing and coordinating a simple outing with her, or when thinking about how to keep her safe and secure her whole life.
Or I never anticipated the gamut of emotions tied to entrusting her in someone else’s care.
I also didn’t expect to grow such a deep appreciation and profound respect for single moms. They truly are Herculean to do what they do every day.
I haven’t even heard my daughter utter the word yet, but it’s really no matter. Even if it weren’t for all these realizations, the overflowing love in the core of my being is enough to know: I am “MOM.”