Today we celebrate a very special birthday. No, not Abe Lincoln’s, though he was pretty special. Today is the birthday of my oldest daughter, Adele.
Adele was a “surprise” — she was the flower girl in our wedding. Don’t worry; my dress was off-white.
I never wanted children. I didn’t think I had a maternal bone in my body. That all changed when I found out I was pregnant: when we saw the first ultrasound, when we heard her heartbeat for the first time, when I felt those first few flutters that turned into tiny baby kicks from inside my belly. I loved her so much already, and I hadn’t even met her.
I read Jane Eyre in college, and there was a character in that book I simply loved. Her name was Adele. I thought it was the perfect name for a girl. Back then, I had no idea it would be my girl. But now she is my girl. She’s my girl who loves dragons and dinosaurs, snakes, and My Little Pony. She came into my life when I least expected it, and life as I knew it has never been the same. It’s been better. It’s been brighter, so much brighter. She is the light of my life.
I always envisioned myself living in a big city — skyscrapers and lights, face-paced living and a Starbucks on every corner. Adele changed all that.
I’ll be honest: I was not mentally prepared for a baby. I was prepared in no way, shape or form. But I do believe everything happens for a reason, and yes, I know the cynics scoff at that notion, but I don’t care. In my life, I think everything has happened because it was supposed to.
Adele was supposed to come into our lives. She was supposed to be born at 9:54 p.m. Feb. 12, 2006. She was supposed to make me cry tears I never thought I’d cry when she was first placed in my arms. Tears of joy and wonder that this tiny, perfect creature was mine. I made her. I made something beautiful and perfect.
I stayed awake the whole night she was born and just stared at her. I studied her, trying to get to know this brand new person I’d be taking home with me. Then I got terrified.
What if I broke her? I was scared to hold her, to change her diaper. She was so tiny and fragile. I marveled at every little sound she made, every facial expression. I loved nursing her, that bonding time with her. It is indescribable. Touching her cheek or kissing her forehead, I knew I never wanted to let her go.
Of course, I will have to let her go someday, let her find her own way in this world. But I want her to always know she has a home to come back, to anytime she loses her way. She has taught more in her short life than any parenting book or any Dr. Phil episode ever could. She has taught me how to be patient, how to laughand how to unconditionally love. I never knew I could love anything so much.
Happy birthday, Adele. You are so very, very loved.