Friday, August 20, 2010

A Letter to Pearl (at Three Months)

Pearl at Three Months

    My dear sweet little Pearl,
    Can you really be three months old? Already? It was a year ago we learned that God was blessing us with another baby. I was thrilled, of course, filled with hope and expectation and a tiny seed of a baby girl. The months went by, and as my belly expanded we all looked eagerly forward to the day you would make your appearance. There was a time when I didn't know if we would be able to have any more babies, and since then God has given us two more, your big brother Raphael, and you.
    You, sweet Pearl. The moment I particularly looked forward to for so long came and went, like it has with your brothers and sister ahead of you. It was the brief moment when labor was over and everything faded in the perfect and precious light of you. Your Daddy caught you and gently lifted you up onto my chest, into my weary arms. You were warm and soft and wet and perfect, and nothing else mattered. There are really no words to describe that instant, when I held you for the first time, when I saw your sweet face and your little body. It is so fleeting, that moment, and yet it will remain in my memory. I loved you already, of course, but now I could see you and touch you and hold you close.
    It seems like you just arrived, but already you've changed and grown so much. You were born perfectly soft and delicate, with dark hair and dark eyes; you enraptured each and every one of us. I'm so thankful for the first 40 days I had with you, when I had lots of time to snuggle and hold and nurse and cuddle you. I've learned, as all mamas must, that those days are too fleeting, that by the end of them the floppy little newborn is already gone, replaced by a bright and wondrous baby.
    You are scrumptious and soft and delightful, little one. You don't cry much, and when you do it's usually not too hard to figure out what you need. Your big sister Poppy, who adores you, knows "the list" and will sometimes help me rule things out: Is she hungry? Is she tired? Does she need a clean diaper? Even at night you rarely cry; I awaken to your soft stirrings and lift you close, where we snuggle and you nurse and are perfectly content together.
    Poppy and Peregrine love to hold you, to smile and coo at you or sing to you. You delight them, and all of us, with your big gummy smiles. I love how your whole body joins in with some of those smiles, little arms waving and legs pumping. Your first smiles were so tentative and we really had to work to get them out of you, but not anymore. Now you see us and break into huge grins. You bring us such joy.
    Raphael loves you too, and if you survive his brand of love you're going to be a tough little cookie! For as often as he hears the word, he doesn't have a very good handle on "gentle" yet... but we're working on it. He's had a bit of a hard time getting used to not being my "baby" anymore. Sometimes when I'm holding you he points at your car seat and says to me "Seat! Baby! Mama! Seat!" He loves to hold you too, with lots of help from Mama. I really have to keep an eye on him when he's near you. I think, though, that you and Raphi are going to be great buddies someday.
    You laughed for the first time the other night. You've developed some pretty great cheeks and now you're working on a second chin. I was trying to clean out what our friends call "the cheese factory", where your chin(s) meet your neck, and you laughed. It was the most beautiful and innocent of sounds. I know, like your smiles, that soon it will come easily, but for now we'll work hard to hear that sound. I look forward to lots of happy laughter with you!
    I love you sweetie, and I tell you so often. You don't know what the words mean yet, but you know you're loved. I look at you and wonder who you are, wonder who you will become. I am humbled at the task ahead of me, of raising you, and your brothers and sister. I so often fall short of the example I want to be, of the love you deserve. I'm glad you're part of our family little Brigid Pearl Annabelle. I can't imagine it without you.
    You are the sweetest baby of my heart.


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