|Alicia at Six months old - Arnold, CA|
After three boys, Mario and I had a daughter—Alicia Robynn.
She was born on a Thursday, at 4:45 in the afternoon, after 36 hours of labor. As soon as she came out, she was whisked away from me to be weighed, cleaned, and dried. As I was being stitched back together, she cried with such controlled bursts, I thought she sounded like a duck. By the time the nurses placed her in my arms, she was toasty warm in a fresh blanket. I looked into her eyes, a deep brown. She was perfect: the living celebration of the love Mario and I had for one another.
Alicia means truth. It’s very hard to describe –with any kind of earthly truth—the way my life changed with Alicia’s birth. My only daughter, born to me when I was twenty-six, today turns thirty-four. She is a fighter, a warrior, a mother, a sister, a daughter. She’s beautiful.
The day after she was born, I thought the thirty-six hours of labor would be the hardest part of bringing her into the world. Of course, I was only twenty-six, and my view of the world was very limited. I really didn't trust myself, at twenty-six, to be a good mother, but I would learn.
I now know that mothers and daughters have a dance that lasts their whole life. They have an ebb and flow of needing to be near each other and needing a break from each other. Only a mother can recognize the unique beauty and strength found in her daughter, but the same mother can also misunderstand this daughter, and distrust the places she wants to explore and even conquer in the world. Sometimes, when I look at my adult daughter, I think about the times I’ve wounded her without meaning to. Most of this wounding has been caused by my own sins of omission. For whatever reason, I’ve not been able to recognize her as the adult she really is—an independent woman filled with radiant life. Almost against my will, I can still see her as the baby who was placed in my arms at 4:50 p.m. on July 28, 1988. I can still feel the warmth of her little body when she woke up with nightmares and moved into our bed. I still remember drifting off to sleep with her at naptime, after we read The Teeny Tiny Woman aloud, for the tenth time.
Alicia is also a writer. Sometimes, when she writes on her iPad, I can still see a young girl at her desk, tasked with writing a simple factual news story about the weather, and instead choosing to write a fictional story about a disastrous flood that displaced an entire family. Sometimes, Alicia will share something she’s written with me. I get to workshop pieces she’s written about miraculous, albeit turbulent experiences. In truth, this is the activity that allows me to see her clearly as a fully realized woman. I cherish these times.
This year, I want to celebrate and love Alicia like never before. I want to thank her for being a person who gives so much love to everyone she knows. I want to thank her for being herself—my baby, my daughter, a fully realized adult who is often a mirror for me. I don't want to miss the miracle of her, my adult daughter. I love how God gives us so many chances—and we need them—especially mothers and daughters.
Happy Birthday, Alicia! I love you!
|Having ice cream in Chico - 2022|