You were barely two. You had no idea what those words would mean and you happily scampered off to find your next adventure, leaving me in tears. Tears of gratitude, of conviction, tears that brought more perspective and contentment than the many I had cried before.
You, my darling girl, were much-anticipated. The months turned to years as we waited. The first few years were unpleasant but tolerable, the next few were painful and the last few were excruciating. The innate desire to be a mother was a powerful force that I had not reckoned with. I had never been someone who loved cuddling babies or could only imagine life as a wife and a mother. I had ambitions to conquer the world and being a wife and mother were a presumption, but not the pinnacle. Yet there I was, years into “trying” to have a baby and the longing to be a mother was ever-present, overwhelming and my barrenness was a stark daily reminder that nothing else would satisfy that ache. Most acutely, I remember the sadness and grief of being forgotten.
So when we finally saw your little frame, all 1.25 cms long and heard the thumping beat of your heart, Papa and I were elated. He sang songs about your heartbeat all the way home from the clinic. Right from the get-go, you measured bigger than the ‘norm’. You were our extraordinary miracle. A difficult pregnancy led to complications and an even more arduous 48 hour labour, but finally you were in our arms. We cried every day for a while, overwhelmed by the touch of your little hands, the squeals, the smiles and the cries and then the tears faded. You were here, you were ours and we were satisfied.
That day took me by surprise. It was just an ordinary one and you followed me around as you loved to do. You watched me as I dressed and unassumingly pointed to my stretch marks and said, “What’s that lines, mama?”
“They are lines mama got because you were in my tummy, my darling”, I replied somewhat self-consciously.
“Was I in you tummy long time, mama?”
After a moment’s silence, you gently but deliberately followed those lines with your little fingers and said, “I love you lines, mama.”
Five naive words, filled with love, disarmed me and a flood of emotions came pouring in and then out. It’s easy to forget the miracle of life, even when you have been waiting for a decade to have it birthed through you but in that moment I felt such gratitude that I was barely able to stand. Gratitude for the journey that led me to this moment, for my body that carried you and even for stretch marks that served as a reminder, for the little person who I was overjoyed to hear call me ‘mama’, for love that does not need eloquent words to be expressed, and thankfulness that I had indeed not been forgotten at all. In reality, I was carried every day of that decade of waiting by a loving Heavenly Father. He had numbered not only my days but that of my children. I was lavished with love in that moment, love from you and love from my Abba and it was sublime.
O what manner of love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! ~ 1 John 3:1
Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. ~ Psalm 139:16