When my little love was born, I learned the true meaning of fear. Her existence suddenly rendered my pre-motherhood fears insignificant, almost laughable . Needles. Planes. Bugs. Nothing mattered once that vibrant, blue life was placed in my arms. The perfect details of her precious face are forever etched in my mind, while the pangs of wanting nothing more than to protect her are embedded deep within my bones.
I have always marveled at how strong my mother is. I used to question how she could do all that she does, and she would just smile and say that it’s what moms do. It wasn’t until I spent hours lunging up and down the hallway of our home, in the hopes of soothing the little bundle swaddled tightly against my chest, that the significance of my mother’s words became real.
Becoming a mother broke my heart. It made me vulnerable in ways that I could never have imagined. I found myself having nightmares of tsunamis and car accidents, in which I would frantically search for my baby, only to realize there was no way of saving her. Movies and television shows with hurt or crying children were off limits, and I wanted to quarantine anyone who coughed or sneezed within 500 feet of us.
Naturally over time, the intensity of my fears abated. They left in their place a hyper-awareness, emotional rawness, and strength. It was around the time that she started smiling and laughing that I realized all of the pain, exhaustion and fear were blessings that leveled my girlhood naivete, and built me up again as my child’s mother.
My baby momma friends and I used to fret about the dreaded baby brain, and while it’s true that now I will probably ask the same question ten times before the answer sticks, and that I frequently lose my train of thought, I know every second of every day what my love is doing, needs, wants and feels, and I wouldn’t trade that gift for anything.
Fortunately, one thing that I never have to worry about is my daughter’s appetite. Her adventurous palate is a constant inspiration to find delicious recipes to fuel and nourish her body, mind and soul. This week I made fish tacos with a Caribbean twist, and the little foodie’s verdict was, “Oh so yummy mommy!” I used wild-caught Cod, and in the interest of saving time, store bought Stonewall Kitchen Mango Chutney. It was fun and flavorful, with just the right amount of spice.
With full and happy tummies I was putting her to sleep, when she asked for “one more big hug.” She wrapped her little arms around my neck and I whispered softly to her, “l love you more than anything in this world. I will always love you, no matter what. I would fight tigers for you.” In her perfect innocence she whispered back, “Yeah. I love you so much.” As the tears filled my eyes, and I covered her with her blanket, I thought silently,