Togetherness, connectedness. Whoosh, my belly goes flat in a release of pressure and out slides my baby girl. The cord is cut and we are separate. She comes to my chest and is part of me once again.
As she sleeps in her cradle, I feel a loss. No more kicking or turning in my stomach; the phantom feelings of a lost limb. More separations to come.
She explores with her eyes, filtering through her own lens. I no longer make all her determinations for her. This freedom feels strange to me. I liked knowing I was her protector and advocate as she grew in my womb. Keeping her safe out here is much more difficult.
My pride at her accomplishments, sitting up, crawling, walking, babbling, is tempered with a longing for her continued dependence. She starts to express her opinions, saying “No!” and pushing me away when I offer her a banana or take her for a bath.
Her strong personality emerges as a butterfly from a cocoon, slowly and triumphantly. Her colors are astonishing – she will look like me and be just as stubborn. I realize that these wings will also lead her away from me in ever-widening circles of exploration. I am scared. Have I taught her to make good decisions? How can I guard her if she travels too far?
I would recognize those colors and patterns anywhere. She will know to come back to me if she needs me. Our original connection, physical and elemental, will outlast our separation. We no longer share a material, corporeal attachment, but our lifeblood has mingled. I skim the surface of the pond and the ripples I make reach out and touch her wake. I watch her take flight and my spirit soars with hers.