When they laid her on my chest, all bloodied and limp, I felt concerned and protective. I prodded her gently, and said, "C'mon .... breathe, baby, breathe." I waited anxiously to hear her cry, but once she did, and the nurse had taken her to be wrapped, I felt not profound love, but relief.
After relief came fatigue, and giddy excitement, and pride, all intermingled. But within a day or so, no more, came love.
There came a love so all-consuming that it left me sobbing at the end of each day, because never before had I known a love so blistering. I was blindsided by emotion. Suddenly I knew that my life would never be free from fear again, even if I pushed my fear to the deepest recesses of my mind. I had a daughter. I knew I must protect her for years to come; I knew I would love her as long as I lived.
That baby has grown into a brown-eyed, pony-tailed, soft-hearted girl. She is different to her mother - she is more confident, less impatient, kinder - but she thinks like me. I understand my daughter in a way that bonds me to her, far beyond any genetic connections. I love her not only because I am duty-bound to, but because I see in her something recognisable and warm and familiar. Just as I am drawn to my oldest, closest friends, so it is with my daughter.
It has been seven years since this girl baby came into my life. Still I am blindsided.
Happy Birthday Laura. You are a wonder and a delight.