I need to come clean. I am obsessed with my daughter. (I'm also madly, deeply in love with my son--in a different way). Lauren will be three years old next week, and I can honestly say that each day with this child is an absolute gift. That is not to say I don't want to wring her neck sometimes, but the bond between the two of us overwhelms my heart with love.
I know my love affair with her began the moment I saw her--we were all alone in the hospital room--I arrived via ambulance while my husband took our son to preschool, thinking he'd have some time (I'll have to fill you in on that on her birthday!). When the doctor placed her in my arms, she looked up at me with these deep, soulful eyes. Her tiny lips were heart shaped, pink like the petals of newly bloomed tulip, and her skin was creamy and delicious. I remember being rocked to my core when she locked eyes with me. I couldn't take my eyes off her then. And, I still can't now.
Hard to believe the past three years has gone by so quickly. Lauren has grown into this feisty, fiery independent little girl. She adores everything princess, and has adopted the mantra, "The pinker, the better." She loves to cozy up on the couch. However, she shows no hesitation in clawing her older brother's eyes out if he is in her way. Her teachers pull me aside at least once a week when I pick her up to report on her misbehavior. Last week, she threw her shoes in the toilet, whipped off her tights and Pull Up at nap time, and tried to fling it at the teacher. She beamed as the teacher told me, like she was daring me to scold her publicly (and for the record, I did, but that little face makes it very difficult to be angry for long).
Yet, she is growing into exactly the kind of girl I want her to be. She stands up for herself and the people she loves--she won't hesitate to jack someone in the face if they mess with her "besties" at school. She is kind and compassionate--she emptied her entire piggy bank out for her school's collection for kids with cancer and leukemia. And, most importantly, she loves me with a ferocity that makes me feel like the most special person on this earth. Some days, I certainly don't feel worth of a love like hers.
Each night as we say our prayers and reflect on the day, Lauren will look at me and whisper conspiratorially, "We Traber girls, Mommy," like we are in our own secret club. The Traber Girls. Our identities we share together (and our cat, as Lauren likes to point out). Later each night, when she sneaks into our room, I hear a little voice say, "Mommy, I want to 'nuggle with you. We Traber girls." I lean down and pull her into the bed. She fits perfectly into the crook of my body. I am the capital C and she is the lowercase--we fit together. She demands that I put my arm around her, and she nuzzles in closer. Each night, I breathe in the smell of her, revel in the sound of that beating heart, her breath sounds hanging in the air. I stroke her hair softly, my fingers combing through her tangled curls. I could stare at this child all night long, and wonder if she has any sense at all of how much I love her. She pulls her right ring and middle fingers out of her mouth momentarily to say, "I love you ALLLLL much, Mommy," and right then and there, I know all is right with the world.
Who would believe that something so small would hold my heart in her hands?