I kiss your belly button because it’s how we used to be connected as one entity and now when I nurse you, I feel as if we are one again. I cannot explain it except that when I sit down (or stand) to nurse you, I literally feel a wave of anxiety sucked out of me. It’s a physical feeling that comes from my back and out of my chest and I feel as if I am floating. It’s euphoria. You do that to me, my love. It’s you. You release the burden of the world on my back and show me how life is meant to be. You are the sweetest thing.

 

I can’t count the number of times I’ve looked down at you with tears running down my face but a smile as wide as the sky, to tell you how important you are and that what you say and do matters. I question everything I do now, absolutely everything, because I know you are watching. You are absorbing everything and your mere existence has brought to light every insecurity I have and made me look it in the face and cast it out. I wish I had done these things sooner but I didn’t value myself the way I value you; now I see that to value myself teaches you how to value yourself, too. I don’t ever want you to feel the shame I’ve felt. You are perfect. You are exactly who you are meant to be. 

 

I am the same person I was before you were born, and yet, since the day you were born, I will never be the same.

Now, who do I see?

I see a tired mother with tired eyes. The circles under my eyes, darker, like in the night when we are together and I’m listening to her breath as she sleeps. When she wakes, crow’s feet form across my eyes from the smile I cannot contain when I look at her, even if it is barely dawn. She smiles with her whole face and I am lost in her atmosphere. It’s all I care to do these days. She coos; I coo. Oh-goooo. Your first word. Oh-kkkkk. Your second. Now it’s ah-goooo and kuhhh and boooo of some sort.

Now, who do I see?

I see a mother whose body is soft, whose breasts fluctuate in size and leak. They aren’t what they used to be but they feed my baby who with her big, bright (turning brown) eyes looks up into my eyes as she nurses. She stares into my soul as she sucks. If I dart my eyes away, still she is looking–though I never want to look away from her. I am her whole world and she is mine. Sometimes she will smile at me as she is sucking and I wish to stop time. Attached to me again, please don’t ever let go, like when she was in my waterbed stomach (my daughter’s old home). I cradled her inside of me for 9 months and for 9 months, we were one. 

Now, who do I see?

I see my sweet, darling girl laying on my chest sleeping, and again, I feel as if we are one. 

We bought you a house.

We bought a house for you.

Your room is next to ours.

The gardens are bigger than both of our rooms put together. 

I don't know much of how to raise you, 
but I'll raise you by my side.

We can sit in the garden while the sun beats down.

You will sleep at first and I'll fumble my way through planting, pruning and picking. I'll try the vegetables first and then I'll puree them for you.

Eventually, you'll pick the vegetables, too.

There is a chicken coop. 
We're probably crazy to buy a house, have a baby, pick up gardening, raise chickens, raise you, all at once.

But on the days that we're all much too tired, 
we can sit on the patio and rest.

The patio gets sunshine all day long. It faces south and so we'll see both sunrise and sunset.

Once it's warm enough I'll buy you a kiddie pool and we can sit together in the water to stay cool. 

I imagine you'll love warmth as much as I do. I imagine you'll crave the sun and find the sunny corners of the house, just like I do.

There's a reading nook in the kitchen.
A reading nook in our bedroom.
Both, with sun.
And we'll read. I know we'll read lots.
We'll read until we fall asleep.

When you're older you'll discover the downstairs of the house next to the sliding door where your play room will be. 
In and out, you can run. 
In and out, with the dogs.

Across the yard you'll see your dad's workshop where you can ask him questions and learn how to build. 
You'll learn about metal, wood, micarta, and all sorts of other materials that you can turn into anything you want.

The workshop will be yours just as much as it is his.
Just as our house is really for you.

29 weeks, 6 days.

This morning I felt your back against my hand and the
bump, bump, bump
of your body vibrate as you hiccuped again,
and again,
and again,
and again.
Your father felt you, too.

And then on the other side of my belly, suddenly your foot poked up and I held either side of your tiny foot pressed against my skin.

You're magical.
You give me butterflies.
You make me feel the depths of my soul I had forgotten about–not realized were there.

My fingers tap these keys, writing, and there you are.
thump.
thump.
thump.

Your tiny, little hiccups.