Olivia Folmar Ard

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Dear Baby

Photo by Arteida MjESHTRI on Unsplash

I close my eyes and try to imagine your miniature body, but I always come up short. I think in terms of your father's complexion and my eyes, but you are your own person. 

I measure out your kicks and elbow jabs and pirouettes and translate them into imaginings of what you'll be like. Will you one day kick a soccer ball the same way you kick my ribs right now? Will you press forward in all you do, working your way through obstacles with careless elbows thrown side to side? Will you miraculously, despite having the misfortune of being my daughter, have the grace necessary to dance? 

I think of everything you could be, all the infinite possible incarnations of you. Each of you is incredibly beautiful, incredibly strong. I love any and all of you. I love who you are, who you could be, who you will become.

I can't wait to meet you. 

But I'm scared. 

Right now, I have you to myself. And as much as I want to see you and touch you, hold you, feed you, learn you backwards and forwards, I look forward to your birthday with a dreadful bittersweetness. Because once you take in that first breath, I won't have you to myself. I'll have to share you with the world. And the world, while filled with wonder and beauty and every good, perfect thing, can be scary and cruel.

The world is perched on edge, waiting for you to become a known entity. Waiting to swoop in and clip your wings with labels, trimming away all the infinite possibilities of you. And, sweet girl, it breaks my heart. 

But know this:

From the moment I saw you--not even you, but half of you; one of two opaque circles on a fuzzy ultrasound still, less than three centimeters in diameter--I loved you. I wasn't sure if you and your little co-follicle would become people, or if you'd slip through my fingers like the three I'd gazed upon before you, but it didn't matter. You already filled my heart. And from the moment I sat on the bathroom counter, sobbing in joy and relief and fear when I learned you had indeed become a person, my heart has been stretching further and further to house you. 

And that love doesn't depend on anything. If I could love you when you were not yet you, a little half-shell of a person, what could possibly make me stop?

So be the you you want to be, sweet girl. Ignore the weight of the world's labels and expectations and attempts to stifle you. Dream big. Don't hold back. Do whatever it is that makes you feel God smiling at you. And whatever you do, remember this: 

I love you. Not what you look like, or how you dress, or the way you act, or the choices you make--you. The existence of you is everything, and enough.

 

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