Dear Ophelia, I've never been able to describe what love feels like. I can remember writing my wedding vows to your dad and feeling as if words had failed me for the very first time. I could never adequately describe what it felt like to be in love, to want to commit my life and affection to another human being. Love's circumference was simply too big for my own words to wrap around. And that's how I feel about you. I cannot do justice to the intensity of the actual emotion by waxing poetic about it. But, as I'm sure you will one day learn, love is not just a feeling. Feeling love is easy. Showing love is what takes patience and selflessness and intention. The truth is, you may never really care what it feels like to love you. And that's okay. But I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you will care what my love looks like. That is what will shape your foundation and bond us for life. The way I show you my love is what you can hold on to.
In the morning you are awake hours before I would choose to be. This is when you are at your happiest. My eyelids are so heavy with sleep that it takes all my focus to keep them open. But I can't miss this. Your sweet coos, the way you pump your arms as if eventually you'll get somewhere. That's where my love is. It's in our midnight feedings. You struggle to latch onto me. But when you do we just stare at each other in hazy wonder and both fall easily back to sleep. That's where my love is.
My love is in the box of childhood mementos, books, toys and letters I've collected for years, the box that used to lie meaningless under my own bed but now lies with anticipation under yours. My love is the tangible list of names that grew for years before you were born. Making that list always felt like killing time, like I was merely waiting. But there was so much love in those years of waiting. And while I was never patient, I was always hopeful. There was always "someday". Someday finally became today.
My love is in the the nursery furniture I've rearranged again and again, the repulsive iron supplement I drank while pregnant with you, the way I pick out your earwax and wipe away your boogers without a second thought. (What's yours is mine, right? Ok, yeah, that's gross) It was there in the hours I labored on the bed, wondering if I could really do this, wondering if we would both be okay when all was said and done. It was there in the moment your papa caught you and brought you to my chest. And it was there in the hours we laid in bed with your after you were born, counting your fingers and toes, exclaiming over your perfection and announcing your name with pride.
Ophelia, my love for you might be hard to describe but nothing is easier than showing it to you. It's in absolutely everything I do now, in every minute of every day. It shows up in all the ways I intend it to and in many ways that surprise me. Sometimes I wonder if love is enough, and if I am enough of a mother for you. All I can say is I will never stop trying. You will never have to wonder how I feel about you. I might be shitty at a lot of things but that will never be one of them. You should know that you will never have to go looking for my love. It will always find you first.