Written by Jess Raubenheimer-Free
It's Mother's Day 2020, and right now you're bouncing in your Jolly Jumper listening to Baa Baa Black Sheep. You're screaming your little lungs out with joy, something you seem to enjoy doing of late. You've really found your voice, and I love watching you explore your body and your personality.
You made me a Mummy, and for that I am so thankful. Even better, you chose ME as your Mummy. Me in all my imperfection. With all my faults and foibles. When you smile at me my heart feels like it might explode with sheer adoration.
For the last six weeks, your Daddy and I are the only people you've seen. The only people you've interacted with. It's a strange time, even more so for a 5 month old baby. Usually you'd be able to see your grandparents, your aunts and uncles, your cousins, our friends and their babies. But instead you cry and feel uncertain now that we've welcomed your Granny into our bubble. It's getting easier though, and you're getting used to her face.
It's not all bad though, my baby. The world has slowed down, focused on the things that really matter.
The birds are singing in the trees outside your window every morning, and we wave to the tuis and the bellbirds in the garden. The sky is empty of planes and people are shopping local, walking around their neighbourhood and talking on the pavements. They're putting down their phones, tired of scrolling, and playing board games instead. Making things. Dancing. Riding bikes. Going for walks together.
The virus that has swept around the world has changed our lives, but our family is close. We're together, always. Every day we see you grow and change, and every night I shed a little tear that another day with you has passed. Watching you play or squeal with delight when your Daddy makes funny noises gives me the most immense and pure joy I have ever felt in my life.
You're starting to delight in things like bubbles, the dog walking by or seeing a bush full of brightly coloured flowers. Everything goes into your mouth, and you're learning that some things just don't taste that good!
We recently moved you to your own room; a decision that wrenched my heart. My baby, no longer so dependent on me for everything. Able to sleep in her own space, and through the night. The first night I woke up every hour, checking the baby monitor to make sure you were alright. Sat on my bed at 3am pumping out the milk you didn't wake to drink. The second night was a little easier, but you decided at 2am it was time to party until you finally laid your weary head down again at 3.30am.
In the middle of the night when I'm tired and my eyes burn, I try to breathe you in, revel in your littleness.
When you snuggle into me while breastfeeding in the night, my heart swells with a love so great it could move mountains. When you cry out for me in the night, I'll always be there. To comfort you, cuddle you and help you get back to sleep. All this nonsense about rods and backs; you need me as much as I need you. Which is a lot.
You are so loved, my longed-for child. You'll forever be my first-born, my first foray into parenting, and the first time my heart doubled in size to love two people equally. I love your Daddy, and I love you. The first time I saw Daddy's eyes looking back at me from another face. The first time I saw my nose reflected back at me without a mirror.
I'll love you forever. More and more each day, my darling.
Lots of love,