You are 19 days old, so close to the void that we can count your life in hours. Smart as a whip, strong-necked and wide-eyed, you have absolutely upended our lives: Never, until your birth, have I so clearly experienced a time “before” and “after.”
Incubating you, I wasn’t supposed to prefer one gender or the other, and baby, I tried so hard not to dream: but I wanted a daughter, a wild little woman to raise. A daughter I could teach all the tricks of the trade: to wonder, nurture and conjure.
Already you’re rising up, growing and maturing at cheetah speed, making me weep with your mundane miracles, like shedding your stub of umbilical cord. As you open your eyes for longer stretches, inch closer to flopping from back to belly, and otherwise grow out of babyhood into your little-girl self and beyond, please know that your mama wishes these things for you, and more:
Before you lose your milk teeth, I wish for you the sticky glee of dandelion milk on your fingers, the smudge of yellow flower on your arms, and a woven crown to coronate you, my sweet young queen-of-the-fields.
As your tiny feet grow I wish them miles, strides, lunges and falls, and child, I wish them mountains: whether they’re the ones that I, too, loved, or peaks and paths of your own. I wish you battered boots and fraying laces; smoke at your feet if it’s fire and flames that call you, or whirls and twirls if by some mysterious leap of genetics you come to possess the skill and grace of a dancer.
I wish for you, next, a wild ear: tuned to the song of meadowlark-on-fencepost, of red-winged-blackbird in farmer’s field, of red-tailed hawk and osprey mama, of mockingbird, warbler, and song sparrow. Using your own gifted tools, may you hear and respond to the cries of your aching country. May you be soothed and inspired by all manner of wild winds, creatures, and calls.
And dear one, I wish you diligence, grace and patience as you use your hands to deliver talents as-yet unrevealed to us. May you craft, caress, join, soothe, grow, create and gestate, addressing the crises and celebrating the beauties of the natural world. Today your fingers close around ours by instinct, but one day, daughter, you’ll lead us by the hand, and I can’t wait to see where we’ll go.
Baby girl, let us hold you awhile: feel our hands, voices, smells, hair and heartbeats. Know how fiercely, how forever you are loved. Help us through our tears as we help you grow up and away, and however wild you grow, remember that you will always be rooted in home, in place, in us.
You’re the blessing of our lives. Thank you for joining us, dear wild, wriggling daughter. Here’s wishing you adventures.