If she’s anything like me, one day my daughter will Google the people she cares about. And I hope–as she’s scrolling and searching through as many stories as she can about those dear people in her life–I hope she will find this.
Because as much as she thinks she knows how big of a space she holds in my heart, there are some things you can never fully know until you become “Mom.”
You think you know what you’re getting into when you’re trying to get pregnant. You dream in blues and pinks and your thoughts become those of colorful onesies and elegant strollers, miniscule socks and gorgeous nurseries, gifts and well wishes and a fabulous baby shower.
You think you know what you’ve gotten yourself into when the morning sickness passes and you can finally see your toes when you look down to the ground, past your swelled breasts, past the stomach that grew and stretched and turned every shape possible as the days and nights and nights and days slowly passed.
You think you know, because you no longer need to pee every time you’ve just left the bathroom, and Baby is finally nursing after days of trying to get her to just latch on. Your eyes have adjusted to the glow of the moon and your legs grow accustomed to the slow, steady pace around the carpeted room with baby in your arms, rhythmically rocking back and forth, back and forth.
You think you know what you’ve gotten into.
You don’t know at all.
There are moments in every parent’s life that nobody prepares you for. Moments you want to freeze in time and hang on the fridge, right under the calendar with all your appointments, between your shopping list and her spelling test, so that you’ll never ever forget them.
These are the moments they never told me about.
No one told me that I’d get misspelled birthday cards written in pink crayon and smeared with wet glitter every afternoon in the weeks leading up to my 28th.
That waking up on my birthday would become more fabulous, more meaningful, and more beautiful with each year that passes, when little hands on my face and wet kisses on my cheek turn into unbridled, brimming excitement and sweet messages of infinite birthday wishes.
That the biggest moments in my life would become about pearly white teeth that bleed and fall, and when “a” becomes “an,” and “an” becomes “and,” and oh my God, is she actually reading? OH MY GOD, SHE’S ACTUALLY READING!
That when she’s this little, her eyes will forever be raised upwards towards the sea of blue way, way, way up high–and that I’d want to tell her to never look down, never stop wondering about the truths that lay beyond the vast unknown, past what our eyes can see.
They didn’t tell me how my heart would melt again and again as I watch her stop in her tracks on her way towards the big yellow school bus, drop down to her knees right there among the scattered cigarette butts, and sing to a small group of birds eating crumbs off the cracked Brooklyn sidewalk. And that I’d want to tell her to never stop singing. Please, baby girl–don’t ever stop singing.
These are the things they never told me about.
And these, these are the things that I want to tell her.
I want to tell her to never stop dreaming, never stop staring at those high, high places that she can’t yet reach. Never lower those eyes when looking for stars.
I want to tell her to always take her time, always be the girl who stops to admire the lilies when the rest of New York City is rushing right past.
I want to tell her to never stop caring, never ignore the people she worries about now, like the woman in the dirty rags sitting, back bent, on an old Coca Cola crate, on the same street corner where teenage girls pass with their iPhones in one hand, iced latte in the other.
I want to tell her to always be this innocent, always believe that people are good. I want her to remember her very first goals, like how she wants to be rich, filthy rich, so that she can give all the poor people in the whole wide world the clothing she’ll buy.
Or her other dream to open a grocery, but one that is very, very cheap so that everyone, even women in dirty rags on Coca Cola crates, can buy something to eat.
I want to tell her that I hope she doesn’t change. Always be this good, always be this sweet. And please, for the love of God, don’t grow up too fast. There are too many things that I need to tell her first.