I know you may not recognize me but I’m you, only eighteen years later. That’s right. You not only survive this whole childbirth thing, but hey, It’s a girl, and you raise her to be a pretty great person–with LOTS and lots of help, of course. She’s gonna do all right. And so will you.
First of all, that DQ cheeseburger, fries, and salad you chowed down on after you realized you were in labor…..yeah, not your most brilliant moment. I know you were hungry, but, well, bygones. Just for future reference–Just. Don’t.
The fact that he honked the horn waiting for you to come out to the car while you were calling folks to tell them you were on your way to the hospital–in labor–we gone have us a baby tonight–yeah, you’ll get a lot of laughs over that one through the years. Actually I’m shaking my head and laughing as I type it. What was he going to do, leave YOU behind? And the fact that he watched motorcycle racing while you did the hard work of labor? Hang in there girl. Far better things are on the horizon for you and this little one. Just laugh it off and tell your friends. The ones who love you will make you feel better with their indignation and smart cracks. It’s going to be okay. Please remember that.
That nurse you just met? The one who asked if you had picked out a name, and when you told her, she ripped open her snap-up scrub top and showed you the Auburn shirt underneath? Yeah, she’s the bomb. She’s the only reason you don’t have to have a C-section. Yeah, I love Dr. B and everything, but it was Paige, the nurse, who made things happen. And about him…..he’s still around. I know you were nervous about him delivering since he only just joined the practice in July, but he’s all right. Y’all get along and laugh and yeah, he’s taking care of things. Tonight is only the start of a great relationship.
That moment when your Mama and Daddy come in and see their first grandchild…..No, you are right, you won’t ever forget it. And when your Daddy squeezes your big toe because he has no words, treasure that. Life is far too fragile. Soak it all in while you can. And by the way, eat all those tea cookies your Mama goes home and bakes for you and feel no guilt. Eat ’em now while you are still young and should have no worries about such as that. They’re made of love anyway, which makes them practically health food.
Your brother, by the way, won’t ever let you forget that he had a big test the next day and wound up spending much of the night at the hospital waiting on this baby to arrive. But it’s okay, you’ll forgive him. He is going to bring you Nu-Way grilled cheese with extra dill pickles, crinkle cuts, and a huge sweet tea over the best ice ever. Every. Friday. After school. Until he graduates. So yeah, don’t hold a grudge. Just remember he has a birthday in a week. Take that cake out of the freezer. You can serve that when he comes by.
That friend of yours, the one who knew you were pregnant almost before you did? Who listened and dreamed with you about this little one? The one who called the hospital at 5 a.m. because she couldn’t sleep, to see if the baby had come? You will always remember the sound of her voice as she comes walking in soon in the morning, “We got us a girl. I’m going to buy her Barbies.” She will too. A chest full of ’em. She’s the one who will fight tooth and nail for you and that baby. And the time will come when that will be real important. But for now just know that no matter how far apart in miles you may be in the future, you will always stay close at heart. Pick up a phone every now and then and tell her you love her, okay?
And the fella who came and held her as long as you would let him? He winds up marrying someone who falls right in with the rest of you and is a real sweetheart. They will stand by your side when you think that they wouldn’t or shouldn’t or couldn’t. They will always put this baby first and love you both through some stuff. Give them a hug and that son of theirs too (oops, hope I didn’t give too much away) and for goodness’ sake call them and go eat Mexican with them as often as you can. Time flies by way too quickly.
When the doctor comes in and finds you not completely covered because you are trying to figure out this whole nursing thing without the appropriate undergarments, don’t worry and stress over it for *ahem* days. Modesty is OVER, girl. You are a Mama now. Good news, the doctor didn’t even notice. Bad news, you will never go to the bathroom by yourself again. That’s right, there are more coming behind this one, and you still have no privacy. But you get used to it. And they are worth it.
Your sisters, by the way, are going to be awesome aunts. They are some of your best friends and don’t forget it, no matter how crazy or hard things get. They’ll be there this coming weekend to hold and love on this new baby girl, very possibly part of the reason she will never like being put down. Because they won’t. Not the whole time they are there.
This girl you are about to hold for the very first time is going to be one of your best friends. She is one of the three greatest gifts you will ever receive in your life. She will make you crazier than anyone ever has, but don’t worry, she’ll get through that stuff too. In the hardest of times she will make you laugh, in the saddest of times she will remind you that you are strong, and in the happiest of times she will make each day a celebration. Hold her and don’t cry too much when she won’t go to sleep at 3 a.m. Soon she will be out on her own, and those nights will only be a memory. Far too soon and yet right on time.
When she gets cranky, tell her to take a shower. It just worked tonight, the eve of her eighteenth 3:32 a.m. birthday. When she acts out of control, let Cap take her to the yelling tree. She says he just sat her down out there, so whatever, don’t question it, it works. Oh, and please oh please, you might want to think about investing in Scholastic and a company that makes dark chocolate. She’s an avid reader and dark chocolate can turn her frown upside down faster than you can say Dove Bliss.
Most of all, give yourself some grace. It’s not easy, this raising up of young’uns. Daddy will tell you, I think in just a few days, “No one’s going to help you raise her.” You will wonder what he means, but all too soon you will understand. And give her grace. She’s far more competent and wise than you can see sometimes. She’s infuriating and compassionate, brilliant and creative. She loves music almost more than she loves chocolate and she will fill your life with it. She gets the spelling gene by the way, and that makes for some fun adventures. Most of all you will be blessed by the people she brings into your life. Her friends’ moms will be some of the people you treasure most. She will open your eyes to great books, great music, great thoughts, and one of the things you love the most will come from her…..she’s a leader and she will ask you questions and rarely will she accept “just because” as a valid answer. You will find yourself saying when she is still small, “Oh my, I hope this hard head and strong personality will serve her well. One day. Because it’s not today.” Spoiler Alert: It does and it has and it will.
Enjoy the days, don’t wish them away. Love her and I promise you will love her more and more everyday. As I do.
Take care and get some sleep while she’s sleeping. I promise you, you’re going to need it. You got this, girl.
Best wishes and much love,