Monday, February 1, 2010

Daughterhood

In some ways, it's been a great long weekend. Steve had off today for the snow...and tomorrow, it turns out. But Andrew has been a bit sick and Simone is growing many teeth at once...and doing her 18-month growth spurt. So there's been little-to-no sleep happening. And lots and lots (and lots) of crying. I think tomorrow might be better.

Last night, Steve was in with Andrew during his wake-ups and coughing fits. I had Simone in with me. She kept crying and pointing to her mouth, which broke my heart. I gave her some things to help with the pain, but it didn't seem to do much. So we just snuggled in bed while she wiggled around uncomfortably. Long night, but there were some patches where my heart and mind were in the right place. Not just longing for sleep, although there was a lot of that. But also feeling really honored to be the one who could comfort her, however slim that comfort is.

I absolutely love having a daughter. There is something so layered and beautiful and wonderful about it that I never expected. I wouldn't have even known to miss it had I not had a daughter. I'm a resilient type, so I tend to think that whatever happened was the perfect way for it to happen. It's a handy trait and keeps my regrets to a minimum, but it also clouds the reality of my responses sometimes.

I wanted three boys, I thought, and probably even 4. It sounded perfect and lovely to have that much Boy running around my house. Not knowing Girl, not having a sister, I wasn't sure how I'd fare venturing into that unknown. I had no idea how much it would explode with joy to get to know her. To be a mother to a daughter.

When I was rocking her in the middle of the night, I was thinking: This will be you someday. She will be exhausted, drained, and yet filled with love and connection to this tiny hurting little person. Moms are so different from dads. Steve is more connected to his children than any man I've ever known. The love, the nurturing, the knowledge of them. But we play different roles. I'm more bound up in their minutiae. I carried them in my body for 9 months, and that does something. There's something so inexplicably changing about reaching down and feeling a tiny head coming down...and then that little body emerges and becomes Jack. Or Andrew. Or Simone. It's mind-blowing on a daily basis that these crazy little persons were once nestled on top of my bladder.

Andrew continues to love hearing his birth story. Several times a day, he wants to be wrapped in a blanket and told about the day he was born. It's odd to think he'll never experience that sensation of life coming out of his body. But Simone probably will. There will be this connection with her in being Woman with her. Seeing life through a completely different lens than all these men around us. When I tell her the birth story of how she was born, there will be a different connection to it.

I'm feeling really appreciative that I'll be able to parent both ways. What I'm seeing already is that there's not a better or a worse. Just a Different.

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