Real life is not scripted. True love is not planned.
That’s what she’s taught me. Every day. Ever since I found out about her being along for the ride. The time at which she decided she was ready to arrive. Her newborn days. Her learning and growing.
My sweet honeymoon baby.
We’d been married less than two weeks. It was so fast. Neither one of us expected it to happen so quickly. I think everyone else did.
I’d never been so scared in my life. I was going to bring a life into the word. Me. I was barely a wife, totally unprepared. For weeks, I was terrified. I worried of failing the baby, of not being a good mother. Eventually the fear dissipated, and I was so excited.
She took four days to come, despite the long labor. The night before her arrival, I stayed in my dark bedroom, praying she would come soon. Crying. Yes, the fear was definitely gone now.
After hours of labor and many tears, she finally was laid in my arms. And that memory is forever blazoned in my mind. Everything and everyone fell away. There was only my sweet daughter and me.
“Elizabeth Marie. That is what we will call you. And I shall love you everyday. I promise to try to be a good mother to you, because you deserve the best. I promise I’ll never let you feel worthless. Because you are beautiful. And I will do my best to make you feel that way everyday. I love you.”
I spoke the words to her, sobbing. Because as a chapter of expectancy and advent closed, another one opened previously uncharted for me. Of hard work. Gut wrenching emotion. Constantly going.
She would scream for at least eight hours everday. Screaming the likes of which I’d never heard. My emotions were intense. I had no idea what to do with this tiny life that seemed so miserable. Colic, my mother said. Oh, colic.
But, we prevailed. And we bonded. She was my first tiny love, my trial-by-fire introduction to motherhood. As I learned to navigate the waters of parenthood, my sweet one learned how to live. To roll over . Crawl. Walk. Talk.
Through her first cries, her first fever, her first tooth, I soothed her through her pain. Patted her back, held her close. And she learned to love back.
She was so tiny once. Yet, tonight, I held her head in my arms because that’s all that fits these days, and watched her sleep. Her lips move slightly. Her chest heave through gentle breathing. Her curls awash on the pillow.
She’s so big.
“Mommy. I love you!” She told me that today, and leaned in and gave me a kiss. And threw herself into my arms.
My sweet Elizabeth, you turn three tomorrow. We have learned so much together. Seen each other through a lot. Learned the ropes of life, watched each other grow. We survived a deployment. You and me.
My battle buddy.
So, I make the same promise to you today, as I did three years ago:
I promise to always love you. And to make sure I will always try so hard to show you how much you are loved. You are so beautiful. Inside and out. Never forget that. It is because of that that you deserve the stars and the moon. Always demand it. God loves you. Daddy loves you. And Mommy loves you. With all my heart.
Life is not scripted. It happens when we least expect it. And through that sudden surprise, comes the realization: Love–true love–is not planned. No. It is beautiful.