September 11th, 2012 the contractions start. I pray that she waits until midnight. I pray that she not have the stigma of sharing her birthday with a national tragedy.
She did wait, though by the time midnight agonizingly arrived I was pleading with her to make her appearance. Of course I know now the date doesn’t matter in the end. The birth of something you’ve created brings everlasting sunshine to the darkest day. Miracles and tragedies exist side by side, each contrasting the other so vividly that you know these are the only moments that make you alive.
Lola. My sweet Lola. She kicked her way through my entire pregnancy, and she does the same now. Kicking and pushing to get out, to get away, to be independent. Lola is my second lesson in letting go.
From the beginning I had to let go of expectations. Expecting to wait a while before I had another baby. Expecting to have an easy pregnancy. Expecting to have a natural childbirth. Expecting to breastfeed. These, all out of my hands, hoping and wishing things would be different, and then the relief of acceptance when I understood my path.
And then Lola. Expecting to have another blondie blue-eyed babe. Expecting to have another snuggler, like Noah, a baby who would rather be in my arms than not. Expecting a soft, sweet lover. Expecting someone more like me.
But she is her own girl, and will defy expectations. She shatters them, and shows me why it was crazy to have them in the first place. She dances to the beat of her own congo. She yells with delight, often and loudly. She smiles with her whole body. When she comes to you, you feel special knowing that she picked you, she picked this moment to give to you and no one else.
She is walking now, and the irony is that she needs me now more than ever to steady herself. She grasps on so tightly, understanding that I’m here when she needs me. And then she lets go, off on another adventure. I savor those grasping moments. When her hands clamp around my legs I relax into acceptance. I know my purpose for her. I am illuminated.
I have mourned that there isn’t as much of me for her as was for Noah. With the second there is always less. While your love may multiply, your times divides, and the second must always fend for themselves a little bit more.
I know this will make her stronger. I know she was strong already. Lola does not need hand holding. She just needs to know you are there.
I can’t contain this firecracker. And I don’t want to. I can only be her launch pad. I will steady her and then fall back and let her soar. She has so much energy, contains so much fire, and color, and life in this tiny vessel. My job is to point her to the stars and release. She may reach those stars, or maybe will be content being her own star. I know she will be explosive, that she will entertain and inspire awe, and that people will be drawn to watch her in all her glory.
You release knowing that you have no control; knowing that it is the only way she can shine.
Lola, my love. I thought I had so much to teach you. But it is you who continues to teach me. To be open. To not hold so tight. To have patience. To laugh often. To slow down. To recognize my strength. To forgive my weakness. To love loudly. To look for miracles in the shadows because the best ones hide there.
You will soar, my sweet. And I will also, because of you.