lily-birthday-number-sixAs in, years old. Lily is six. years. old.

This birthday isn’t really difficult to swallow. Just mind-blowing.

As I imagine every mother of young children feels, I swear I just gave birth to this baby. My first baby. I can remember exactly what I was wearing that February night as I waddle-sprinted across the hospital parking lot. The air was balmy, and I wasn’t wearing a coat. It was one of those freak 60-degree winter days that keep us on our toes here in the south, and I remember thinking that was a good sign.

Lily arrived about 12 hours later, purple-faced and screaming. They took her from me quickly because she has passed meconium on her way out and needed to be suctioned. I hated not getting to hold her right away. I felt stripped. But Marc stayed close to her, and that was a comfort.

When I finally held her, I remember amazement and fear washing over me at the exact same time. What I didn’t know in that moment was that the fear would linger and fester and morph into crippling anxiety.

But this is not a sad story. After about nine weeks, I got help and the clouds lifted and Lily and I never looked back.

She is my heart, my right arm, so much a part of me that there really are no lines of distinction.

She makes me laugh, confuses me, makes me want to scream. When she hugs me and kisses me (right on the lips), all is right with the world. She is belly laughs and silly faces and two missing bottom teeth. She writes magnificent stories and is fascinated by how letters make words. And, oh, what an artist. Her latest creations were a cat wearing a dress and a surprise note to me on a tiny scrap of paper with “Mom and me” scrawled above a drawing of us together.

She is getting into Barbies and other big-girl things, but still loves her stuffed animal friends best. We snuggle most every night, and she holds my hand under her cheek. I can’t get enough.

The moment she entered this world Lily revealed to me a love I had never before experienced or even imagined. And through all the ups and downs of the last six years, that love has grown stronger and deeper. It pretty much swallows me whole.

I am so very grateful for this wonderful, exquisite light in my life.

Happy sixth birthday, sweet Lily Maxine.

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