Thinking of the important snapshots of my life, specifically the birth of my kids, really got me to thinking last night. So, I'll start with Amanda.
I have a picture of Amanda as a newborn in the hospital, wearing that little striped stocking cap that all hospitals seem to issue. Her skin is reddish and beautiful, her cheeks are chubby, the curled up fingers beside her face are long.
I remember the second night in the hospital--all alone with her in the bassinet at my side. I remember looking at her, and thinking, "That's her. That's the baby that's been inside me all the time." It honestly took a little getting used to.
We had decided on the name Amanda, because it had withstood the test of time--there were grandma-aged Amandas, as well as a good number of school aged girls bearing that name, and yet it didn't seem too common. We had been feeling out the name for the last couple of months of my pregnancy, yet she somehow didn't seem to have earned it just yet. We mostly called her Baby for a while.
That second night in the hospital, only a bit more than 24 hours out of the womb, she fussed in the bassinet and couldn't really settle down. I brought her into the bed with me, and she immediately settled into sleep. When the night nurse checked on us, I told her she was a little restless. She said, "She seems to be doing just fine now. She was with you for 9 months. She's comfortable there."
Over seven years later I look at pictures of that newborn, and of the toddler and preschooler that she came to be, and sometimes they don't seem to match the tall, thin, bespectacled grade-schooler she is today. I see it as my responsibility to be sure that she's comfortable. Comfortable with who she is. Comfortable with us as parents. But ultimately comfortable on her own, for those times when we won't be there to bring her in to us. Just as she slept comfortably in her own crib when we returned home, I hope that the security that we are giving her now will enable her to live securely away from us when that time comes.