I have always had the feeling she knew she was going to be here, long before I knew. I sat on my big bouncy ball, trying to relieve the sharp pains in my pelvis from the necessary collapse of its integrity. The waters broke, and I knew it would be soon. She was already doing most of the work out of sheer competence, a trait still seen deeply etched in her. This child has always known what to do, even before her first breath. She has always had full command of her body, even prior to birth.
I could feel her moving her head into the gates of freedom, pushing with her tiny but powerful legs. She was helping me. All I did was hang on and hope for a fresh breath between contractions. With ever-increasing intensity, my body gave way to her claim on earth. The doctor ran in just in time to catch her bursting arrival. She was here.
When the doctor lifted her up to lie upon my chest, I looked into her face and said, “Who are you, baby?” I had never seen a single creature even remotely like her. It felt so much like I was being given a baby that was to be as my own, yet she was my own. If I hadn’t just birthed her myself, I would have wondered if we shared flesh and blood. Even her eyes were from somewhere I had never seen before. Such a strange thought to realize I didn’t know her yet, but she seemed already to know me. I don’t know if this dynamic has ever changed.
Her big sister was three years old at the time, and at their first moment together, my big girl said, “You’re here. I’ve been waiting for you!” And it’s true—we had been waiting and wondering and imagining who we were going to meet.
Here was our small and mighty maiden.
Her body was robust; her hair was cocoa brown with glowing silver roots. It looked like that of an older women who hadn’t touched up her roots. I would later find out it was actually gleaming light blond hair, pushing out from under the dark, thick hair that matched mine.
Her dark hair was the only resemblance she showed of sharing a single cell with me, and with each week, cocoa brown hair was supplanted by shining platinum. Her armor and helmet were clearly affixed, the final announcement that she had taken the place reserved for her long before she existed outside of the mind of God. He called her by name and gave her to me. As impossible as it is to know He died for me, in spite of my unworthiness, He again offers a gift of this wondrous child to a woman incomplete and insufficient.
I am so grateful God did not drop my children off and leave us to ourselves. Thank God He remains present in our daily breath and allows us to abide in His. Even while our present struggles certainly illuminate the world and the blows it can deliver, I remember that He remains. When things seem impossible to understand or to figure out, I reach for the Bible and know it is true. Sometimes it’s enough just to know the words He is speaking are true.
He gave me this child, and her sister before, and we have become a rope twisted and entwined, growing stronger as we allow the Lord to twist us into His own strand. To watch this baby grow into the child I know today has been so filled with delight and laughter. I had not been prepared for how much I could care about someone, how much I could love and sacrifice. These girls are an embarrassment of riches.
My feisty golden storm soon took even more command, setting her own sleep and eating schedule. I used to joke that she was born with a wrist watch and was always checking it. She had potty-trained herself, and before I caught on, I worried she was sick or dehydrated when her diapers were suddenly dry for way too long. Even tying her shoes was learned in the privacy of her own room.
I almost did not have her. I was already a mom of “advanced age.” Then one day I was watching my darling firstborn playing happily outside, pointing out every cool thing. The thought sank into me: I want her to have someone when I’m gone. I wanted her to have that “first call,” for good and bad, happy and sad.
I am flattened with gratitude and awe by the gift of these girls to me, but mostly to each other. I cry out in praise to God for joy beyond measure.
Polly Avery is a native of Arizona and a true desert-dweller, though she is currently having a Rocky Mountain life while raising children. She loves listening to people tell their stories and has always been lucky to hear so many. She never feels more clear-thinking and at peace than when she’s writing and pouring out all the pictures in her thoughts.