In all your beautiful newness, your freshness tangible, I feel daunted by the task ahead. As I look upon your face, your eyelids flickering uncertainly, I realise that there is so much you need to learn. Lying in my arms, so helpless and fragile, I promise to be your guide upon the journey to becoming you. And I think: there are so many things that I must teach you.
But the truth is, you are the one who has taught me.
You have taught me to be brave. Together we have travelled through fraught days and anxiety-filled nights when your daddy and I have tried desperately to decipher your needs and wants which you have frustratingly vocalised in an earth-trembling scream or a cry of disgruntlement. And for each need met, for each sob stopped, for each flicker of contentment, my fear has diminished a little and my courage has started to build, piece by piece. Until now when I go forward confidently, bravely, unafraid of the concerns that used to consume me.
You've helped me to discover what matters in my world. Your arrival has reordered my priorities and what once held great significance now seems irrelevant. The material concerns, the worries about perceptions, the things connected to my ego no longer hold my attention as once they did. It is those priceless moments, those parts of my life which can't be quantified, which have shifted to the front of my focus. You've reminded me that richness isn't always monetary.
You have changed how I view myself. You've shown me that thinking about how I might appear to the world aesthetically is pointless and meaningless. And when I look upon my less than flat tummy, I view it with pride - after all, it is a thing of beauty because it carried you.
You have taught me to listen to myself. Because of you I have found my voice and dared to use it. You have helped my esteem to flower and grow into a positive force within me. Because from that early, scary start when I was stumbling in the dark, I have learnt that I do know what to do -
once I started to believe in myself, the answers became obvious.
You've empowered me to always be honest. Since there has been you, I have realised that I want to be your role model, to always live my life with integrity. No more do I hide away my hopes and dreams, my thoughts and ideas. Now I aspire to always life truthfully in the aspiration that this will reflect upon you and you will feel, in turn, able to do the same.
You've showed me how strong I can be. That even at the end of those days beset by exhaustion, you've helped me to discover a hitherto hidden power to carry on. For you I burrow deep and scour those reserves to keep on keeping on. I know that inside me is a potency which has been gifted to me by you; it is a maternal strength which will keep me fighting on, always.
You have revealed to me the amount of empathy I have within. You have made me think kindly more often, and in thoughtfulness of the emotions that others may be enduring. Because of you I try to reach out in consideration more, in appreciation of the challenges and concerns people may be enduring.
You've shown me how to have so much fun. Pure, unadulterated, innocent fun which fills me with a soul-lifting joy. Whether it's Daddy and I holding your hands whilst you dance to the theme tune of your favourite television programme, or singing nursery rhymes in public, you have given me a youthful playfulness I thought had been lost forever, pushed away by the overbearing responsibilities of adulthood.
Above all else, you've shown me that my capacity for love is infinite.
That just when I think I must have reached a limit of affection, I find some more in my heart. And you've shown me that ultimately love will always win, beating out sadness.
You've changed me. The old me is gone and in place is this person who I didn't know existed. I have always been looking for meaning in my life and you showed me what it is.
You have set me free.
You've taught me how to be me.