Whimsical. Sparkly. Magical. Funny. Bubbly. Beautiful. Pink.
These are just a few of the words that come to mind when I think of my youngest daughter. And on her birthday, the adjectives are amplified beyond description.
She was awake this morning (who knows how long), and when she heard the house stir, she put on a party dress and entered the birthday room. There were polka-dot packages, which matched her boldly polka-dotted dress, shiny (pink) ribbons, shiny (pink) baloons, and a cake with that magical sweetness that only ripens on a child’s birthday.
Libby brings so much joy to my life, it seems my heart can’t bear the fullness of it. Which is why it is all the more odd to recall that when she was born, I wasn’t sure if I could love her as much as I loved the other children.
Everything had been going smoothly. My mother-in-law arrived in Alaska, and twelve hours later we were on our way to the hospital. After three hours of labor, my delicate, 10 pound, meconium baby was rushed away, her lungs suctioned, and her head placed in an oxygen bubble.
When they brought her back to me 3 1/2 hours later, she didn’t seem familiar, as my other babies had. And it scared me to think that this baby in my arms would always be a stranger.
Of course I loved her. But would I love her so much that my heart would break with it?
It haunts me to think of it, but at the time, I wasn’t sure.
I know there are stories of mothers and infants clinging to life, and who are separated by medical necessity for days or weeks or months. But for me, 3 1/2 hours was long enough to make me wonder if my baby and I had missed something we could never get back.
I spent three days in my cozy hospital room, with limited visitors, nurses bringing great meals to my private room, and with plenty of time to get to know this new baby, who depended so completely on me.
By the time we walked through the door of our home, excited little kids bouncing off walls, Bushia’s home-cooked meal in the oven, with that tiny human, swallowed up by all things plush and pink, our hearts had been knit together for good.
The bonding had occurred, not as quickly as with the other three kids, but with that same familiar, unbreakable permanence.
God had a lot of women to choose from when deciding which one would have the honor of raising Libby.
I am thankful and grateful and completely humbled that out of all the mothers in the world, I am the one she calls Mama.
Happy Birthday My Darling Libby!