During a meditation exercise in one of our birthing classes in downtown New Haven, our instructor told the expectant mothers to imagine that our babies were communicating with us through the umbilical cord, a “silver line” she called it. Despite the ambient music, the darkened room, and the deep breathing… I laughed. The idea of my unborn baby talking to me through a silver cord gave me the image of her sitting in my belly with a can in one hand, like the cooks in the Progresso soup commercials, waiting for me to pick up the can at the other end of the line so that she could deliver a message to me.
“Mommy, I’d like another milkshake please.”
“If we must, dear.”
Once I started chuckling, my husband did too. We were the jerks in the room that night, the ones who ruined an otherwise peaceful moment.
Now that I’m the awestruck mother of an incredibly adorable four month old, that idea of a special mother-daughter communication line doesn’t seem so funny.
I’ll admit that it’s taken me awhile to see my daughter as her own person and not just an extension of myself. And, in fact, I’m still working on it. Before she made her debut in this world we had already gotten to know each other pretty well. I knew what times of day made her restless. I knew when she had the hiccups. I could feel her jump when a loud noise scared her. I protected my belly from the cold, from strangers, and from discomfort. And once she was born, she was mine. All mine. I guess she was my husband’s too, but whatever.
In those first few weeks, Loreli and I spent just about every minute together. She was always with me, just like before, only now she was in my arms. I could gaze into those baby blues and soak up her gummy smiles. I had total control over her environment. Too hot? How about a little AC? A dirty diaper? No problem. Hungry? I’m your woman. You get the picture. Yes, the summer was tiring, but it was also filled with the most amazing moments of my life.
But now it’s autumn. Now I don’t have nearly as many of those moments. I’m not in control of her life like I used to be. I’m forced to have faith in others for her safety, for her comfort, for her happiness. I’m forced to see her as her own person, and, if there’s anything positive for me about this whole daycare experience, it’s the realization that my independent little four month old and I will always share a bond that is inseparable, no matter how many miles are in between us.
It may not be as shiny as a silver line, but that’s okay… Thanks to our little one, I’ve got more than enough light in my life.