No One Prepared Me For This Love


No one prepared me for this love.

It is a warmth behind my lungs, spreading from my heart. It is pure happiness.

When I first held her in my arms, it was masked as fear. How do I keep this little bundle of life alive? I go through the motions. I feed her, change her, soothe her. I worry, so I hold her for the first four weeks of her life. Backstage, I hear the voices of mothers before me, “She’ll spoil her.” “She’s holding her too much.” “She won’t learn to self-soothe.” But I am strong in my fear. Her baby-breathing is uneven in her sleep. I hold my breath.

Fear sets and love rises, in glimpses. Baby hugs, giggles, first mumbles, a possible “ma-ma”? The curtain of fear drops, I sing my aria. Joyful verses, lullabies, starry skies. Hungry caterpillars, three little bears, goodnight moon. And, scene. Backstage, I switch on the monitor, adjust the volume. I press my ear to the speaker, listen carefully. I hold my breath.

First steps, tumbles, climbing, tripping, falling, slipping. Toddler bootprints in the snow, disappearing across the ice. In a stage-whisper, I hear a mother’s voice. “She needs better boots,” the voice says. A mittened hand in mine. “I’ve got you,” I say, though I can barely hold myself. We stumble together, slide, catch each other. I hold my breath.


In Spring, she jumps, she runs, she leaps. She crashes into me. I sit in a field, so real I’ve forgotten the stage. I await the impact. A train is coming. “Chugga-chugga! Choo! Choo!” the train says. It giggles and squeaks, wobbles and stumbles. I hold my breath.

In Summer, she says, “Don’t worry,” and “I’m okay,” and “I love you,” and “You’re my best friend,” except when I tell her that it’s time to clean up toys. Then it is, “Never! You are not my friend any more. I won’t talk to you. I’m never playing with you again.” I laugh and press my cheek to hers. I cradle her in my arms, kiss her forehead, press my nose to her hair. I smell baby shampoo, summer sun, oatmeal with honey, apples.

No one prepared me for this love.

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I'm Gretchin! I'm a silly, artsy mama from Waterbury, Vermont, who loves exploring the Green Mountain State with my husband and toddler. I'm a little different from the average mom in that, most of my parental coping skills involve singing, dancing, putting on silly theatricals, and painting rocks. My house is one filled with imagination, where magic is real, and where boots get sad when they have no feet to dance with. I'm a Production Editor at a publishing company by day and a Freelance Graphic Designer by night. I'm surrounded by love, buried in laundry, and looking for my coffee cup in a pile of unfinished art projects. I also blog at Your Mom Is



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