The space that she fills on the nook of me; it's the space where life began.
It's amazing to me to look back and be able to pinpoint the exact moment when it felt like I was born. No one remembers being born, after all.
But I do.
It was the moment when the delivery room erupted with laughter. Not because of the experience, and not because of overwhelming release. It was because of Mabel.
Because of her button nose and her darkest hair. Because of her biggest eyes and tiniest body.
We laughed like Sara laughed in the Bible, with a kind of fullness that the Lord could probably appreciate. A fullness that was not made for this earth. Sara laughed because God promised her a child long after her body was worn and tired from age. I laughed, and maybe we all did, because God promised me a child who would fully wear my body down and tire me from within. She would exhaust me in the richest of ways.
In the midst of that deep, guttural, rich laughter I remember looking around the delivery room vividly. My mom was blonde with some dark in her hair. She was tall, slender and beautiful. She sat by my bedside most of the day as she had twice before, awaiting what we thought would be a third redhead to add to my clan. This time was different and as I looked toward the end of the bed at her laughter, I made sure to etch it in my mind. My mom has a beautiful smile, a noteworthy laugh; one that my sister and I carry on, and I listened in that moment that Mabel was born as she allowed the fullness of joy to overtake her. She looked at my sister and Jeni cried. She cried so much, as she always does. This baby looked just like her. She was the most beautiful twenty-something I had ever seen and I had adored her from the moment she was born too, so it was no surprise that I felt the same when her twin-child emerged from my body and breathed life.
She would continue to breathe life into all of us in the days to come.
[and then even for years.]
The day Mabel was born, and essentially so was I, my dad was also in that room. I had no idea how that would foreshadow his role in my life in the years to follow but looking back I am so thankful that I let him stand beside me as Mabel entered the world. He smiled the smile that is mine and he cried through tears of happy. He has been my rock many times since we were born; me, my second birth and she, her first. He stood at my side, rubbing my forehead, holding my leg, cheering me on.
Long before this moment he had given me away to a man who helped create these children but in that moment, I remember feeling as if I just wanted to lay back on the shoulder of this man; my father.
I felt his overwhelming pride for what I was capable of-growing and delivering life, but also for being his. His child who was giving him yet another grand child.
In the hard and painful years to follow, I have talked and cried more with my dad than ever before. I have felt his earnest and gentle support, tender heart and strong hold as I've walked through some of life's hardest news, and most devastating changes.
Sometimes I think back to his sweet face in the delivery room that day and I remember how much he loves me. Because of his love for me, I have never felt alone.
She took her first breath, and I breathed for the first time.
She cried a tiny cry and my insides literally leapt from somewhere deep and opened up. My insides opened up at the sight of her.
Every child has helped me come alive, little by little, extracting parts of myself that were necessary for making me a much better person in general.
But with her, I knew that my lungs were full and my stomach had likely carried it's last. I laughed at the fulfillment of that moment. Of the literal explosion of wholeness that my body, my life, had just delivered. I pushed and I pushed and with ease, she was alive. Completely alive.
And she birthed me as much as I birthed her.
Yesterday, as her body dangled from my hips, neck aching and back feeling the tug of her constant weight, I wondered for a moment if one day I would look back and think that it was odd that she had never taken a step, not ever eaten food, never spoken a word to me. Will it be strange to look back at photos and realize how teeny tiny her body truly was? Will it haunt me?
The thoughts come and are fleeting, thankfully.
Because she is here and I am fully alive with her in these moments.
I came alive for her and continue to be because of her.
Most people never do so.
What a gift of life she has given.
What a gift He gave me in her.
How very lucky I am.