At this time 11 years ago, I still had no idea if I was about to meet Victoria or Thad. We were of the infuriating couple ilk who did not find out if they are having a boy or a girl. This trend is coming back I’ve noticed as of late, but in 1998 we were among the few and the annoying. It was especially irksome as we attended a church where 15 baby boys had come into the world over the previous 3 years without even one hint of a girl. So. Imagine the chagrine when we did not find out the gender of our first child, nor did we release the name choices prior to her birth.
Tony was the hard core “Can’t Find Out Before the Baby is Born” one. I had more than one nightmare that the ultrasound tech told me the sex of our unborn child, and I knew FOR A FACT I wouldn’t be able to keep it from Tony for the rest of my pregnancy. We would not have kept the names secret, except we had chosen Thaddaeus as a boy name, and we knew there would be NO END of commenting on the moniker. Now all we hear is, “What a COOL name.” At the time of Thad’s birth it was more like, “What?” “Why did you add the extra letters?” “Where did you find THAT name?” “Do you REALLY expect him to be able to spell that?” To answer all of those questions, we had one simple mouth-shutting answer. It’s a Biblical name–an apostle– and the spelling is the original Greek. By the way, he spells his name just fine.
But 11 years ago we were standing on the precipice of still not knowing exactly whom I’d been trying to bring into the world for the past 15 hours. As it turns out, it was our daughter. The photo is the one we took when I finally got to see her about 5 hours after she was born. I’ve written before about all the scary things that happened before and after this photo was taken, but this is the newborn picture I love the most. She is just hours old, yet she has on her face a look of concentration and understanding that surprises me to this day. That furrow in her brow is still there when she concentrates. . .the little upturned lip–still there–the piercing gaze–still there. All of it is still there in the girl that is moving at lightning speed toward adolescence. Despite our best efforts against society in trying to let her be a little girl, she is, indeed, moving away from that time in her life. We still have a little while left, but each moment of each day brings longer legs, growing opinions, a few more eye rolls, more maturity, more responsibility, a fraying of the apron strings.
She is an amazement, this girl of mine. From the moment I knew I was carrying her to the moment I managed to bring her into this world she was ONLY mine. Now I have to share her with the universe. . .and sometimes that is hard. . .but I am thankful that I still see traces of the baby I held in my arms that night. I am even more thankful that God trusted me enough to let me be her mother. We gave her gifts today–a digital camera, a figurine, some food erasers, some days of the week socks–tokens of our love for her and our knowledge of what she likes. But SHE is a gift every, single day.