Four years ago, on June 11, 2005, at about 1:30am, I was unconscious as you took your first breaths. About an hour later, I am told that I held you for the first time, that I wept, but I don't remember it. The first thing I remember is putting my hands on your belly as you lay in that plastic bassinet & singing the Waylon Jennings song "If You Ask Me To" to you. To anyone who has heard the song a few times, they might think the morphine was still a little high, but for anyone who knows the words, I'm sure they'd understand. I mean every word, & you now know them by heart.
As we have come to know each other, your personality has seemed to be there all along. I've always felt like I've known you for a long time. When I think back to my life before you, when I would think about what a child of mine would be like, you are just as I always knew you would be in so many ways. Yet, you are so much better. I always thought you would look more like Biggie, with darker hair & eyes. The first time your Nonna met you she held you up in the air, saying, "Oh! Look at my little Calabrese!" I scoffed inside. You look so much like me it hurts sometimes, but you do it better. Your eyes sparkle more, you've got some of your dad's curls right at the ends of your hair, you are more honest than I could ever hope to be. I am proud of how authentic you are. I do my best not to be hurt when you don't want to hug me, but thankfully it is rare. You indulge my policy that I don't get out of bed until somebody gives me a hug, & I thank you for it.
I need you to know that I am not the kind of mother I want to be, sweetheart. I hate that we are trapped inside during this relentless heat. I am sorry that I can't take you for a walk in the woods, to try to master your new scooter, or to just lay in the grass & look at the clouds. I'm sorry that you are forced to settle, day after day, with your sometimes cranky & not-so-creative mom. I am trying to do something about it, but the guilt is a heavy burden.
I am so grateful that you love to help me. Yes, most of the time it takes me longer to get tasks completed because you do, but the fact that you want so earnestly to make things easier for me speaks volumes about your character. In your own way, you tell me that you see all I do for you & that you think it is right. So many times you show that you understand me better than most adults do & you never question my motivations. You seem to always trust that I will not let you down, & while some may see that as a disservice in some way, I don't. Some days it is the only validation I can find.
Although I want this to be about you, I have to tell you I am so excited for you to become a big sister. Just yesterday I asked you what am I going to call this new baby, because only you can be my Punk. You said, "Oh, Mama! You'll come up with something! You always do!" You are such a great little cheerleader, you make our whole family excited to see what is down our path.
You are on the cusp of going out in the world to meet new people. While I worry over if you will find the balance between staying true to yourself & being gracious, I'm excited. I can't wait to hear you describe your experiences in your exuberant, colorful vocabulary. I savor every morsel, lovey. More than anything, thank you for loving me back. I don't know what I did to deserve you. I strive everyday to do so.