Wednesday, April 6, 2016

One Who Weakens

Things really didn't start out this way.  When I was pregnant with Delilah, I felt the least connected to her of any of my pregnancies.  With Gabriel the bond was instant.  I can't even recall a point in the pregnancy that I didn't feel that bond.  With Eden the connection was guarded, but still strong.  By the time Delilah came around, I was just so busy, and the pregnancy was the most physically demanding, that I struggled to feel bonded.

I had a strong suspicion that Delilah was a girl, or perhaps I was just afraid to believe that I would have another son, but in the last two months of the pregnancy I really started to convince myself that she was a boy.  I recited her boy name in my head and started dreaming of the things my little boy would do.  So when she was born and Marcos said to me "It's a little girl!" my world shifted a bit.

Or shifted a lot.  I felt pangs of regret for the distance I put between myself and newborn Eden.  I was so scared to love her, and so scared to believe she was here to stay, that I often didn't take the time that I should have to hold her and interact with her.  Add to that my sincere disdain for the breastfeeding experience and genuine postpartum depression, and I frequently felt like she was a job rather than a gift.  My mindset has since changed drastically, but I'm still so sorry for my behavior in her first few months of life.

Bound and determined not to repeat those mistakes with Delilah, and to keep her from getting lost in the shuffle of toddler life, I found myself holding Delilah as much as I could.  I seized every reasonable opportunity to let her sleep on my chest, snuggle in my arms, sit in my lap.  It started so deliberately, but over the last almost six months I've found that I need her.

Throughout the day I find my mind wandering to think about her.  I catch myself staring at her pictures on my desktop.  When I see her I feel compelled to hold her, to kiss her, to just be close to her.  I've become rather obsessed.

Oddly, it's been Marcos who has noticed some of the quirky things about her.  She started to favor one side of her head and developed a bit of an asymmetrical head, for which she's had a couple sessions of physical therapy.  I never would have noticed, and when Marcos discovered the issue I insisted he be the one to take her to the doctor, because I wouldn't have the doctor thinking that I was the paranoid parent.  Marcos also noticed the crease in her earlobe, just a slight, inconsequential defect that I had overlooked.

When I look at Delilah, I am drawn by the intensity of her gaze.  Her eyes captivate me, bore into me and leave me weak and raw and exposed.  She owns me with her stare.  When we first lock eyes in the morning, I know that she was rightly named Delilah, one who weakens.  The day that I lifted her from her crib and held her close to me, and she placed her tiny hands on my cheeks and began to chew on my chin, I nearly melted into a puddle of mom-goo.

In her newborn stage I frequently saw Gabriel in her face, but as she grows, she looks more and more like her sister, but with Delilah's signature eyebrows.  Watching her develop is wonderful.  She has incredible dexterity, great strength, an infectious laugh, and a very apparent desire to do new things. Though she's participated in family story time since she was born, we've recently started offering her own story before bed, and she reaches for the pages of the books with curious wonder. She doesn't care to sit still, and I treasure the moments when she'll simply sit in my lap or hold still in my arms.  She'll be off and running in no time.

We are all informed by our experiences, and while my nature is to love very boldly, experience has taught me to harness my feelings and be careful with my heart. Still, all of the experience and all of the hurt couldn't protect me and couldn't stop me.  I couldn't help myself from placing my heart in the tiny hands of my beautiful, brilliant, shining star, Delilah Danielle.

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