In a moment of silence, I can remember the first moment I fell in love… head over heels in love and entirely enthralled by her. She was almost invisible, but the moment I knew she existed… THAT… was the moment my heart felt alive.
“Leilani”. It means “heavenly child”. I perused websites, this silly baby name book I still have in my TV console, and every other place I could find a name and a meaning for her perfect name. I had to name “her”. I had to give this being, this existence a name. That which grew inside of me before her heart beat had to have a name. For which I could call her… for which made her feel more alive to me. But I would still call her “baby”. When I’d feel her kicking, “hi baby, what ya doin’ in there baby girl?” in my teenage turned sweet motherly voice. When she’d have incessant amounts of hiccups at all hours of the day and night, “Baby…. my poor baby can’t stop her hiccups. My I wish you were here”. When she’d roll over and kick me in the side, “Hi baby. Mommy loves you.” while I layed my hand on my growing belly to follow her every move. You see… a mother’s connection with her baby is magical. She is sensitive to every ounce of being that her baby is. She feels, she connects, she gets attached to her baby. After all, it is a mother that keeps her baby alive, God willing.
What a strange feeling to feel such adult like feelings at such a tender age of 17. But age doesn’t depict the great amount of love one can have for another. After all, a child is more apt to have a greater ability to love without the experience and strains of life. He or she experiences such love with newness and awe and wonder which is why we call it “teenage love”. So tender and sweet. So innocent and naive. But oh so strong. And we are determined, we are obsessed…
I think teenage fathers don’t get obsessed over their babies. I think their minds are still too young to process these innate feelings a woman has naturally. A disconnection may occur, a lackluster expression of emotion so to speak. But when the doctor placed Leilani in his arms, I never saw a man cry that way before except for when my dad broke down in tears to learn of his mother’s passing. But that day, Leilani’s dad’s heart grew that much fonder, grew that much to have the ability to love like never before. There was this little girl named “Leilani” after 6 weeks of being conceived, that had tiny fingers, soft skin, and beautiful big brown eyes that stared up at Daddy and she was now alive to him because for so long he’d barely feel her move in my belly and see photos and ultrasounds to know she existed. But that day he held her for the first time he melted.
There’s an “awww” moment here. I’m sure of it. And almost 12 years later, when my little big girl became a lady this last weekend, I wasn’t sure whether I should cry. Because from here on out, it’s crushes and friends, mall trips, first dates, driving lessons, winter formals, proms, cheer leading squad, straight A student, college applications, lots of teenager arguments, laughs, tears, and headaches in between. But in every moment, when she passes the corner, when she cries her first tears of heartache, when she smiles for her senior photos, I’ll say under my breath “Baby. Mommy loves you.”
To my little lady. My forever baby. You are my first greatest blessing. The joy of my heart.
Forever your one and only,