This morning, I sat on the floor with Charlotte in my lap, putting her shoes on before she and Allan left for the day.

She stood up and I asked if I could kiss her goodbye. She blew me a kiss as she walked toward the door.

Then she came back to me, bent down, and kissed me on my lips.

I had to hold back tears. It was one of the sweetest moments of my life.

And those sweet moments are what I knew nothing about when I was terrified and pregnant.

I also thought I was going to lose Allan when we became parents, but I didn’t. Instead, I got to watch him grow as a man and as a father, and got more of him to love. We’re such a team now in ways we weren’t before.

Last night we commiserated about Charlotte’s new phase – she screams when she’s displeased about something. Screams and squawks and it’s awful. But it’s just a phase, one with an ending (I hope). So last night, Allan and I laid in bed laughing because she sounds like some sort of deranged dinosaur. The annoyance at her screams brought us together, made us stronger in a weird way.

Just so you don’t think we’re awful parents, we also often lay in bed and marvel about her sweet face and intelligence.

(But we laugh at her a lot, too.)

 


When I was younger, I was desperate for blue eyes. They would be so much better than the dark brown I was born with. I used to dream of what my eyes should look like. They’d have a dark blue rim, with light blue in the middle. Those, I thought, would be perfect.

Those, I now see, are my daughter’s eyes. A dark blue rim, with pale blue in the center. I think I dreamed them up.

We recently celebrated her first birthday. Go ahead an insert every cliche about parenthood and the passage of time HERE. It’s all true. Every bit of it. Time flies at incomprehensible speeds, love is deeper than you ever knew possible.

Thanks to Charlotte, I’m living an amplified life.

We didn’t get her anything for her birthday. No gifts or anything. We threw her a 30+ person party, got her a special onesie (that says ONE!) and I made her a tutu, but no new toys or treats.

Three days after I learned I was pregnant, I started writing letters to my unborn child. In the letters I confess my fear, my hopes, and Allan’s euphoria. When I learn I’m carrying a girl, I tell her where her name came from and what color paint we selected for her room.

I tell her about feeling her kick. I continued writing throughout her first year, telling her about the day she was born. I told her about her fascination with lights, about her love of bananas, and her obsession with the dog.

I told her the story of her, and the story of us. It’s a love story, the likes of which I never thought I’d write.

I will print it, bind it, and that will be her first birthday present. And maybe someday when she’s older, she’ll read it and have an idea of just how much I love her.




Yesterday, people wished me a happy Mother’s Day.  I got cards and gifts, phone calls and flowers.  It was surreal.

I’m still coming to grips with the idea that I’m a mother.

I’m a mother.  I’m a mother.  I’m a mother, I’m a mother, I’m a mother.

I feel like I’ve joined a club.  The biggest, most welcoming, most incredible club in the world.  Yesterday, I sat around a table of mothers – six of them – and realized that I was part of their club.  I received my membership via the most gorgeous child I’ve ever laid eyes on.

I didn’t want to be a mother.  And all of the things I was afraid of – the loss of time, of freedom, the loss of independence – it all happened.  Every bit of it happened.  And every day I have a minute or two when I imagine what life was like before I became a mother.  I remember sleeping in, having no responsibilities, having more money.  I remember staying out late on weeknights, and I remember reading books.  I remember plopping down on the couch after a long day at work.  I remember intimacy at odd hours of the day, and I remember spontaneous weekends in hotel rooms.

And I miss it.

But then I think of my girl, and what I’ve gained is infinitely better than what I lost.  I wouldn’t trade her for any book, any trip, any anything.  When she rests her head on my shoulder, and my heart swells to capacity, I know that what I have is better than anything I lost.

I feel like I haven’t quite earned the title of ‘mom’ just yet.  All I’ve done is keep her alive, helped her to grow.  I feel like the tough stuff is up ahead, when she feels unpretty, or like she can’t solve a math problem, or when she feels like her friends have abandoned her.

The tough stuff is talking to her about sex, and college, and teaching her to drive.

So yesterday, I honestly just felt lucky.  I didn’t feel like a pat on the back was necessary.  Instead, I felt like it was a day when I got to reflect on how insanely blessed I am, and how grateful I am to be the mother of Charlotte Amelia Sandoval.