Friday, August 14, 2009

Ode To My Baby Girl, on Her First Year

(Warning: long hormonal post to follow)

Lovey, nigh upon a year ago you went and turned my life upside down...

See that? That's me, suddenly wondering who I am, and terrified that I might get lost in the terror of a newborn baby, something I up and did real quick so that navigation back to my former self would prove impossible. Dear Kathryn Davy, this past year you took me on the ride of my life. And I would do it over...and over...and over again. Because I've never experienced the kind of love that makes you realize the bridge to who you used to be has been burned and you can't go back and you're even GRATEFUL for that loss of your bearings. Onward ho! With no other choice!

Davy, you had only been a part of my life for a month or so when I realized that suddenly my life had become scarier. It wasn't just that your Daddy and I didn't know why you were always crying, though indeed that was terrifying. It wasn't that the whole breastfeeding thing had me flummoxed and teary-eyed in the middle of the night, though I really thought it might be the death of me when I came down with the dreaded mastitis. It was on an ordinary afternoon early on in my maternity leave and you were laying next to me on my bed while I was watching "Hotel Rwanda" for the first time ever. I'd seen many movies like it in the past. But suddenly! My heart was in my throat and I felt the beginnings of a panic attack coming on! Those children! They could be you! Suddenly all the sorrow in the world was my own and my fear was choking me! Little did I know that from that day on, every sad Today Show story, every news article about children trapped in an earthquake or talk of an orphan's home in South Dallas...those children felt like my child. There would never be enough hugs, or tears, to push away the fear that every parent encounters: that they might lose a child. It haunts me to this day - the notion that life has upped the ante, that I have more to lose today than I did a year ago.

But. Aside from the crippling fear came joy beyond measure.

I never understood how people could carry around photos of their children and expect me to care. And yet: a quick study of my iPhone will reveal hundreds of photos of you. Daddy and I would find ourselves calling each other only to discuss the barely perceptible new thing you had accomplished during that day: "Guess what." "What?" "Today she turned her head and was watching TV." "Seriously?!" "Yeah. And she smiled when the dog barked." We continually marvelled over your obvious talents. Someone call the Gifted Program.

Davy, I'm not gonna lie. Becoming a Momma was HARD. Every step stressed me out. Your father can attest to this: I am an anxiety hound and the lack of sleep only made it worse. But, bless your heart, you really were a good baby. By six months you slept through the night (though that damned Babywise had me thinking it would only take 9 weeks!). We learned quickly that as long as you were fed, you were up for whatever. After about 7 months of you and I hanging out I realized that you recognized me and maybe even really liked me being around. By 9 months I was certain that I had never really lived before you.

Your life has given me a whole new way of looking at mine. Let's take Daddy, for instance. Honey, you'd only been born for a few hours before it was painfully clear that I was never intended to marry anyone but your daddy. I remember holding you sometime around midnight on the day of your birth and looking over at your father who was fast asleep on the chair/couch next to me. I just burst into an estrogen cry fest because I suddenly realized something Jesus must have known for a thousand years or so - that Russell Page was always meant to be with me and meant to be your daddy. No one else would do. And Oh! The joy it brings me when I think of the totally different way you will know him as Daddy. Trust me: I know a thing or two about good daddies and you got yourself a good one.

Little girl, your personality is out like Clay Aiken. You are so intensely yourself. Here are some things to remember: everywhere we go, people say, "Oh my gosh! What a beautiful baby!" I used to think this was just something folks said to most babies until total strangers stopped me to ask if they could hold you. You smile at everyone. Hell, you'll babble coyly to anyone, too. "Those blue eyes!" If I had a nickel for every time I heard that. My prayer is that you will somehow escape the pressure that most girls feel by the time junior high rolls around: may you never measure yourself by your looks. It's too fleeting a weight to carry. May you somehow get it through your head that the stuff that lasts is the stuff the years can't change: your love for others, your tender heart. But if you succumb to those demons that your own mother bowed to - may you realize quickly that freedom lies in your Heavenly Father, the One Who loves you regardless of anything you can do for Him. Who knows your worth has nothing to do with performance, behavior or beauty.

Little girl, God brought you into my life to teach me the Great Lesson: how to love without being loved in return. Oh my. I never knew how selfish I was until you came along. For as long as I live I'll never be able to thank you for relieving me of the burden of ME. I just don't matter as much today as I did a year ago. And I know this is of God. Only He could use such a little thing to give me such a great gift. I can say with tears running down my face that you've taught me that this ol' life is full of surprises and pain...and that I would never trade it.

I love you, baby girl.

Love, Momma.


Maria Beck said...

wow, Beck! Absolutely beautiful post. I was literally sobbing reading this.

Rachael said...

Love you girls!

J. Page said...

What a perfect, beautiful post Davy will cherish always. She is a lucky little lady to have you as her mom.

Jess said...

Wow, I'm crying too! Beautiful post to your sweetest little girl.

Kay said...

Becky, dear Becky, my own first child and teacher about life to me as your mother. In my estimation, this is the best post you have done so far. You are a writer as well as a counsellor. You have said so much about parenthood in one small column.

We began praying for Russ near the time of your birth. Now we did not know his name, yet prayed earnestly for him. In fact, I had a "knowing" about him almost from the first time you mentioned him in a casual conversation. We thank the Lord for bringing him to you at just the right time.

Sweet Davy came to us at the end of a difficult summer and swept in with a breeze of joy. I am trying to enjoy her "in the moment" without fearing for the future. You see, I have known the Lord long enough to know that He who created her will take care of her for all eternity.

Thank you for being the best daughter in the whole wide world! Keep writing.

Tara said...

Jess passed on your post to me. Beautiful, really, really beautiful. Thank you.

Lindsey said...

Loved this, but you need to have a disclaimer to have a box of Kleenex handy before you start reading. You're so right about the things that matter are not things changed by time. Wish I could give that sweet girl a kiss myself!

Chrys and Mike said...


happy birthday, baby girl.


life with the wisners said...


FYI: these kind of posts make me do the ugly cry.


they are my FAVORITE kind of posts.

bm, you are an incredible woman, and sweet davy is so blessed to have you as her example.

love you. love her. love this post.

Jess said...

Beck, I have to tell you - Amanda Moody (Utley now) just had her first baby today! A boy - Chase Fields Utley. Thought you'd want to know :)

Chois said...

Hi Becky, what a precious post. Time just flies, doesn't it? I know you must be trying to cherish every second with Davy! Johnna has told me so much about you, and now that I am back in the metroplex (we live in Arlington), you and I should get together and finally meet! Aren't you so excited for Johnna and Sutton? If there's going to be a shower in Dallas, would you let me know? You can email:

Esther Choi (Johnna's minister friend who used to live in San Angelo)

Katy said...

What a sweet gift for Davy. She will one day treasure these words. And if she's anything like her mom, she'll be a hottie when she grows up. Not that that's important, ahem.

Can't wait to see her in person! It's been too long.