Welcome to the world Little Wanda girl. You’ve been a part of this family for months now, nearly invisible to everyone around but very noticeable to me. I’ve carried you and nourished you and talked to you, mostly about “swimming down” and “going towards the light” and other useful instructions that would help free you from your watery cell inside of me.
I’m the one whose stomach you heard gurgling and whose 6 months of semi-violent morning sickness gave you the hiccups. I am the soft home whose walls you snuggled up against and occasionally tried to claw through, with the loud laugh and the voice that went on and on almost without ceasing. I am everything that’s surrounded you for the majority of your life. I am your world as you’ve come to know it.
And now the world’s changed. You’re out and you feel vulnerable. I watch you tuck your little legs up against my chest as you burrow your downy head into my neck. I still give you food but now you have to work for it, letting me know you’re hungry and then opening big, no bigger, no bigger than that, before I’ll let you take a drink.
I hold you and I love you and sometimes I even strap you to my front in a way that’s almost like being back in the womb and yet totally different. Sometimes I put you down because I can and sometimes I pass you to someone else. Voices like Daddy’s are familiar but he probably smells funny and although his songs are the same now as they were when you were growing inside me, they probably sound different to you.
You get cold sometimes and sneeze. I take you to doctors who poke you and prick you and want to measure every bone in your body. You make crazy faces and tiny little noises that delight me and everyone else. Everyone wants to touch you.
9 months ago I became your mother and you had very little say in the matter. You still don’t have much choice. You’re here to stay and I’m here to make sure you stay as long as possible. I’m here to teach you and to love you, to make you fairy wings and take you to the zoo.
I plan to feed you regularly and force you to do chores around the house as soon as you’re old enough to wield a broom and dustpan. I will dance with you to ABBA and teach you how to use a curling iron and a Leatherman. When we play cards, I will never let you win but this will teach you to play well and maintain your self-respect. Magoo may not like losing every time we play together, but I’m sure he feels good knowing that if he ever does win, he will have earned it.
If you want to blow bubbles in your milk, I will facilitate that and on some warm sunny day with a Costco pack of Hubba Bubba, we will head to a field somewhere and I will teach you how to blow bubbles with gum. I will laugh at your 3-year-old knock-knock jokes and hang on your every word as you tell me about what you learned in kindergarten.
You will grow comfortable and confident living in this world, knowing you are loved and that you will be taken care of until you are old enough and wise enough to care for yourself. I will help you.
And one day when you are all grown up and have children of your own, you may find that sometimes you wish you could still curl up on my chest, tuck your legs in and let me take care of you. I will. You are my baby girl and you always will be. You’ve made it into our family, and this is what you get Little Wanda.