Let me start by saying that this post is not really about Babygirl. Or maybe, not ONLY Babygirl. To reassure everyone, I'll start by saying that so far I haven't called any doctors. The highest temp I was able to record was 99.8, not the necessary 100.4 they need before I can transfer any of the worry to them. Babygirl still doesn't feel well, but she ate breakfast. She complains of belly pain every time she coughs and every time we hit a bump on the road. But we are home, safe.
Babygirl has been the focus of my attention for the last 2 1/2 years. My other girls generally deal with this without complaint, but I know it gets old for them to always be on the back burner. But I want them all to know:
Each and every one of you has, at one time or another, from the day I first laid eyes on you until (and including) now, have had my entire, full, unremitting attention, even when it seems my head is far away. The heart-wrenching, gut-clenching, adrenal-squeezing worry that I focus on Babygirl? Well, you all gave me lots of practice. In order of appearance:
CityGirl - From your first tiny tickle inside me, the first stitches in your eyebrow, the not-eating year, the dare-devil sports, to the current you-are-too-far-away life, you've squeezed my heart into an entirely new shape. You taught me everything I know about how to be a mom, and what it means to actually have your heart walking around outside of your body. I do give you too much 'radio silence' but there is never, ever a day when I don't live a random memory and stop and pray for you.
Curlygirl - From the first time I met your frightened, defiant brown eyes I knew I was in deep, deep trouble, and deep, deep love. Through all the I-hate-you-you're-not-my-moms, through the endless nights of breathing treatments when I feared that if I fell asleep you would stop breathing, high school rebellion, childbirth and the amazing gift you gave me in Squeaker, you have been the object of my ongoing prayer and love.
ChamaMama - You came to me late, but are no less a part of my heart for all of that. From teaching you how to balance a checkbook and fearfully watching your wild bar-hopping days, to seeing you finally bring the RIGHT man home to walk down the aisle with; from the gift of my first (and second, and third!)grandchild to the worry, prayer and hope over your postpartum blues, I think of you and pray for you every day. And every stomach-dropping road my car travels brings you to my heart.
JuJuBee - From your silent, smiling visits to my office when you were so tiny to the loud tantrums, the running away and the coming home; during the days when we feared we would lose you back to a system that seemed determined to do anything but protect you; to watching your beloved stroke the face of his first child, and holding her and her sister in my arms and heart, my heart has walked with you every day with prayer, and hurt with your hurt and rejoiced in your joy.
You were all here before Babygirl. Just because you see me at my gut-clenching worst over your baby sister doesn't mean I don't remember how each of you has suffered, grown strong and triumphed over the toughest things any group of kids collectively could have. I'll never forget the nights and days of heart-wrenching pain you all endured, and that I endured with you. And I don't forget, not even for a minute, that you each still have struggles, pain, and growth going on and that you still need me.
So even when I seem like a completely insanely crazy stranger, just keep tugging on my pants leg and I'll be there. After all, as most of you already know, if the kid keeps saying, "Mom. Mom. Mom, Mommy. Ma! MOM!" sooner or later Mom has to focus on the kid and say, "WHAT???" LOL.
I love all my girls. With my soul, heart, gut and squeezed-dry adrenal glands. You are my greatest blessing.