Dear Lily June,
It started as a joke.
So accustomed was I to calling you “Peanut” in the womb that when you were born and suddenly wanted your way, I would call you “Queen Nut.” I would pull my knees up to my chest, creating a Mama-made thrown. Then, I would prop you on top of those knees, holding you upright in a sitting position, and I would ask you, “Queen Nut, do you have any proclamations for the peasants today?” You would reward me with a smile and a stream of babble–what I could only assume were your proclamations–and I thought it was cute. Now, I’m worried that it’s gone to your head.
Like mother, like daughter, you’re already becoming a Type A full-blown control freak. And at four months old, your desire for control is concerning me.
When we took you to get your four month shots, there was some crying and some panic and some blubbering. And I’m fairly certain that you were upset, too.
What upset you was not the needle coming toward you, not the unfamiliar, coldly sterile office of the pediatrician nor the squint-inducing florescents you were laid under. It was the fact that you were laid down at all.
So accustomed are you to being held or set upright so that you can see around the room, the idea of being lain flat on your back like a turtle on her shell was excruciating for you. You wailed like a turtle can’t and kept wrenching your neck and shoulders from off of the examination table. The pediatrician diagnosed you as a future high-performing Type A and said you had the physical prowess of a one-year-old. Was he flattering us?
Most likely Probably I guess so No, you’re a genius.
Then came the bottles. You’ve snatched your “BaBas” right from the hands of both your DaDa and MaMa. Despite the fact that you have some trouble sustaining a forty-five degree angle, you demand to be the one at the helm of your own formula feeding.
What’s even more amazing? At four months old, you can grab the burp cloth off of us to wipe your own mouth off. If I hadn’t seen you do it, I wouldn’t believe someone your age capable of it. But Lily, it appears you’re vehemently opposed to the formation of milk mustaches.
Then, Sunday night, you and I were engaged in a blissfully peaceful cuddle. (In other words, you were fast asleep on my arm, which was trying to join you in also falling fast asleep.) In order to stave off the pins and needles, I adjusted our position, and I grabbed your little hand. You woke up, gave me the sternest glare a baby can muster up from the depths of adorable, and wrenched your hand out of mine. Then, closing your eyes again, you laid your hand back down. On top of mine. Well played, Lily June. Well played.
When I set you in your bassinet a few minutes later so you could get some sleep, I crept out onto porch for a few more moments all to myself to think. I’d been holding you all night– you my miracle, the sunrise of my life–and as I stared up at the moon, I had the thought that it took me thirty years for my life to get this good. And what swells my heart with an overwhelming gratitude is the fact that I earned none of this. I didn’t work to find your dad, Ryan. He appeared in my life as a previous relationship was in shambles, and I was lonelier than I’d ever been before. We became friends first, and then quickly more.
I couldn’t control how the timing of your birth fell so perfectly. I found out I was pregnant in the fall after one of the hardest summers of my life, and you were born in May, right after a spring semester when I could easily take off work. (Your dad claims to have been tracking my cycle, but I don’t know that even he could have timed this kismet.)
And I couldn’t have imagined, stepping out onto that porch, that I’d chosen as a night to steal a few more minutes before slumber the exact night of a lunar eclipse. The image to this post is of that moon, but at the time, it didn’t look so red. It looked like what your dad and I call a “cookie moon,” appearing like the black shell of an Oreo has slipped its cover from the white cream. It was a sight to behold, and I was practically paralyzed by the beauty of it. This kind of eclipse won’t come around again until 2033. And I stumbled upon it by accident.
So much of my life, Lily, was devoted to control. I was an A student, a hard worker, and I do hope you inherit my love of books and my work ethic. But what I also hope you gain so much sooner than three decades in is an appreciation for letting go. A willingness to let life happen on life’s terms.
There will be much, little Lily, you’ll have a hand in (or, rather, on) in this life. But there will also be times when you have to deal with what you’re handed. Let it come, Lily. Let life be. And learn to let go. When you stop trying to hold on, you might find that you’re granted the things you most want to hold.
- “2015-09-27LunarEclipse” by Reddit user Bluerainbowsanddrain – https://i.imgur.com/d1JHPRq.jpg. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:2015-09-27LunarEclipse.jpg#/media/File:2015-09-27LunarEclipse.jpg
- “Margaret of Denmark, Norway & Sweden (1389) effigy 2010 (2)” by Jacob Truedson Demitz for Ristesson – This image comes from the Southerly Clubs of Stockholm, Sweden, a non-profit society which owns image publication rights to the archives of Lars Jacob Prod, Mimical Productions, F.U.S.I.A., CabarEng, Ristesson Ent and FamSAC. Southerly Clubs donated this picture to the Public Domain. Deputy Chairman Emil Eikner for the Board of Directors, Hallowe’en 2008.
- “Injection Syringe 01” by Kuebi = Armin Kübelbeck – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Injection_Syringe_01.jpg#/media/File:Injection_Syringe_01.jpg
- “Hypomelanistic-Snapper” by Charles Homler – Own work. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hypomelanistic-Snapper.jpg#/media/File:Hypomelanistic-Snapper.jpg
- “Oreo-Two-Cookies” by Evan-Amos – Own work. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Oreo-Two-Cookies.jpg#/media/File:Oreo-Two-Cookies.jpg
- “PikiWiki Israel 12716 Hands image” by ארכיון עין השופט. Licensed under CC BY 2.5 via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:PikiWiki_Israel_12716_Hands_image.JPG#/media/File:PikiWiki_Israel_12716_Hands_image.JPG