Happy Birthday, Hope

Dear Hope,

At this time, ten years ago, you were not even a day old.  You were a tiny bit sick and the doctors had you under a little oxygen tent.  I couldn’t hold you very much those first 24 hours, but I padded down to ICU, reached my hand under the curtain and rubbed your little naked back.  And then I talked to you.  I told you about your Aunt Becky and Uncle A.J., my friends from college who came to visit, and relayed the excited joy you brought to your Grandma and Papa.  You slept as I spoke, lying on your stomach with your little diapered booty poking in the air.  You looked like a little pink mollusk, your warm new-born mottled skin gleaming in the hospital light, a tiny finger — a firm curve — around my pinky.

When you came home 48 hours later I was at a loss.  Hope, you were the most beautiful and perfect gift I could ever want.  I couldn’t get over the adorable slope of your nose, the sleepy-turtle like sticking out of the neck, the warm heartbeat I felt under so many soft receiving blankets.  I walked around the house holding you.  I didn’t know what to do with a baby and I was terrified I would do something wrong.  I lead you through a complete house tour; look: kitchen, bath, baby bed.   I pulled out each adorable outfit and held them out to you:  pink dress, Elmo p.j.’s, yellow terry cloth sleeper.  When I could think of nothing else to show your alert infant eyes, I talked to you:  I told you about the books I liked to read and the classes I was taking.  Then all the stories from my childhood and the baby-lives of siblings.  I talked while I fed you and I talked while you slept.  

Today, my little Peanut, you’re ten-years-old, but I will tell you a secret.  At night, when you are sound asleep with Pillow and Monkey crushed in the crook of your arms, I pad into your bedroom and rub your back.  And I talk:  I tell you everything, but most of all I tell you that I love you.  I love you more than I’ve ever loved anything in my life.  You’ve brought me purpose, light, joy, and love.

Alicia Hope, you are my precious blessing.  Mommy loves you. 

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