My darling, my Rose, my baby; Adrina. You are seven years old, no longer the baby I cradled in my arms; no longer with the clenched fists and scrunched angry nose, toothless mouth screaming, frustrated at our mutual inability to communicate. I remember holding you to my chest, both of us sobbing; mine, of exhaustion and fear; yours, exploratory and declarative in a language I could not yet understand; and I recall the calm release when I rocked us both to sleep. I was so frightened by you, this inarticulate helpless creature that I knew nothing about yet felt more deeply connected to than I did my own limbs. I don’t know if I can express how profoundly my commitment to your well-being took root of my soul, how anything and everything came second to you, my sweetest flower, Adrina Rose.
That first year, you didn’t sleep through the night once. So closely we were intertwined, you sleeping in my arms each night so that with only slightest effort could I pull you to my breast, quieting and calming your wakeful nature - so similar to my own. I was determined to give to you of this body, imperfect and often tense, for a full year following your birth. Somehow we pulled through, despite the difficulty of transitioning from working at home to suited corporate daily toil, the trials brought through my own inexperience and impatience, the teething, the fingernails, the exhaustion, and my own frequent and inexplicable sadness. On your first birthday, you had cake. I celebrated by drinking my first beer in almost two years. That night, you slept, but I did not. I awoke frightened by your stillness, in disbelief of your slumber, and woke you to calm my fears. It was then that this seed planted; that you were a babe no longer, nor my angry angel rubbing sleepy eyes at four A.M.
Although I felt as though I had just begun to understand being a mother to this baby, it struck me that I would have to learn to be a mother to this child, my child, ever evolving and challenging, my Adrina Rose. As much as I am yours, life often proves it remarkably difficult for me to grasp that I am someone’s mommy – especially someone as incredible and joyous as you. And while sometimes still, I see seven years of our life together as inconceivable as when I first learned of your impending arrival, what was life before you has faded like dim stars on the horizon of the rising summer sun. You have illuminated the shadows, bringing this dark night into the startling brilliance of your indomitable light. I could never have seen the grassy meadow without your effulgent life; my debt to you is everlasting.
I am terrified of failure, of failing you. An honest representation of the year embodies much of what I most feared, becoming less than you deserved. The year was possibly one of the most difficult of my life. Unquestionably, it was the year that I have labored most rigorously, committing unconscionably long hours to my career, refusing to “fail” despite the seemingly obvious limitations of my one imperfect self. Over the summer, there were days I did not even hear your voice, leaving for work before you woke and returning after you had gone to sleep. I do not know why I thought I could take on such great responsibilities and emerge triumphant and unscathed; I imagine it was in part because my sheer determination and work ethic had seen me through so many challenges, and I was unwilling to believe that I could be less than what was expected, regardless of how unreasonable those expectations might have been. I was so determined to prove people wrong that I undermined myself, proving that worth is not achieved through being a statistical anomaly, but by being of value to those I love.
It was heartbreaking to admit that I had failed you, heartbreaking to fix the situation. As it was when my body embraced you, I felt no choice in matter. You came first, so I abandoned the career which had given me such pride and accomplishment, joining instead an effort more worthy of my work. Beyond the situational catalyst, transitioning to nonprofit work had long been a goal, and the opportunity presented through my love for you would have been unlikely in other circumstance. Being your mommy, the five letters holding keys to a greater world, is a more incredible experience than anything I could have imagined. I give you your world and you, my darling, give me mine. I love you more than words exist, my Adrina Rose.
April 12th, 2006: http://marynificent.livejournal.com/200587.html
April 12th, 2005: http://marynificent.livejournal.com/152282.html
April 12th, 2004: http://marynificent.livejournal.com/99618.html