I slept in minutes the night before the big day, tossing and turning and dreaming in snippets. A worried mind is not a rested mind.
She was nearly three years in the making. She required bed rest, house arrest, and constant monitoring. With the miscarriages permanently etched on our brains, we worried for 39 weeks straight. Because infertility, as it turns out, never really leaves you.
When she finally arrived we were overwhelmed with emotion: Elation, excitement, and relief coursed through our souls as we finally held our sweet baby girl in our arms. Finally, it was our turn.
And so we went about protecting her. We nurtured her, we snuggled her, and we were completely in awe of her every second of every day.
For the past five and a half years, we have built her up and watched her thrive. We’ve cheered her on in good times and held her close in not so good times. We’ve watched her every move and kept her home for even the slightest sign of an asthma attack.
We’ve taken care of her every step of the way.
So it only makes sense that I didn’t sleep that night. Because the following morning, I would have to trust a new person to take care of my baby girl for four hours and twenty minutes of the day, five days a week.
No one loves my sweet girl as much as me. No one knows her inside and out. No one will ever put her first.
I would have to trust them to call when she wheezes and comfort her when she’s sad. I would have to trust that them to cheer when she needs cheering and step back when she needs independence. I would have to trust them to help her find her voice and advocate for her needs.
I would have to let go just a little bit more.
I wasn’t ready.
Truth be told, I never would be…
“Parenting isn’t about control.
Parenting is about guidance.
Parenting is about structure, limits, and consistency.
Parenting is about empathy.
And, above all, parenting is about unconditional love.
Parenting isn’t about control.
But yelling is.
Yelling is a function of feeling a loss of control.
Yelling happens when stress is high and emotions are heated.
Yelling happens when we can’t seem to get what we want, and we feel like we are out of options.
Yelling is a last ditch effort to regain control of a situation.
Yelling won’t get your needs met…yelling will result in hurt feelings for your child…and yelling will leave you feeling horrible…”
She wraps her arms around her daddy’s neck just so.
Just enough to create a little fortress where she can block out spying eyes.
Just enough to whisper a secret…
A secret she’s waited all week to share.
I pretend to busy myself with mindless tasks while daddy and daughter concoct a plan. I steal furtive glances when she’s too deep in secret telling to notice my presence. I watch, quietly, wondering where their secret plan will take them this time.
I soak it in, making a note to remember every detail of this moment in time. The little striped leggings, the sweater dress of an opposing pattern, her long brown layers highlighted from days spent outside cascading down her back (“long, like Mommy, please”), the giant brown eyes brimming with excitement, and the cute little flowered flip flops. Always the flip flops…no matter the weather.
“Daddy and I have a super big secret”, she gushes, before running back into his arms.
And so it begins, I think, mirroring the excitement written across her face.
“Well, super big secrets are always fun.”
“It’s for you and I won’t even tell you until Valentine’s Day!”
“I will look forward to Valentine’s Day then, sweet girl. It sounds like it will be terrific.”
“It will be the best ever, Mommy. The best ever!”
With that, they head off on their weekly quiet time adventure. With that, my husband steals his special time with our not-so-baby girl…