You are so lovely. I can’t believe it was already a month ago that we saw your perfect little face for the first time. I will never forget the first night of your life, when I held you all night long and we dozed together. After a bad day of recovery from anesthesia, I was finally well enough to enjoy you properly and more than once in the crazy days since then I have wished I could go back to those dimly lit, surreal moments when we got to stare at each other in perfect peace and quiet.
But that is not to be. There is life to be lived, and I am so thankful I get to show you how to live it. All summer long I have been contemplating you – my daughter – and what I want for you; how I want to show you how to be lovely, how to enjoy life, how to take it on with strength and courage, and how to find and make beauty wherever you are. For now you are basically oblivious to what’s happening around you, but I am amazed how you inspire me to be more than I’ve been, to show you how.
I don’t know much about you yet, but a few things have endeared you to Daddy and me already. You have a perfect little nose and everyone’s saying it’s mine. Your chin and your eyes come from your daddy and your hands are perfect little miniatures of his. You have lots of dark hair that seems to be lightening, and deep dark eyes that seem to be turning blue. In all these ways you are just like your brother but there are some big differences, too. To start with, you are simply dainty. You were more than a pound lighter than he was at birth and you are just undeniably pretty. All the nurses cooed over you and one of them walked in at the start of her shift, got a look at your perfect, beautiful face, and remarked “If you can have a double chin at 6 pounds, then there’s no hope for any of us.”
As for your personality, it seems like it couldn’t be more different from Jacob’s. Within hours of your birth we noticed the differences. You are never inconsolable. You fuss now and then but if you are in someone’s arms you are satisfied. This was a bit of a problem the first week, when you made it clear that you wouldn’t hear of anything less than spending every moment of every night sleeping in my arms. But I shouldn’t say problem, because I loved every minute of it. You are surprisingly aware of the world around you. We secretly worried about your brother’s hearing until he was 3 or 4 months old. He barely passed the newborn hearing tests. You passed on your first try and while Jacob slept through a crashing Mahler symphony on his first day home from the hospital, you flinch and twitch at every sudden noise. And you are ambitious. You seem to have a clear idea already of what you want, and you do what it takes to get it. You are already wielding your little hands skillfully, and I’m pretty sure you could cross an entire room to get to a food source. You are definitely a determined little person.
On a related note, your nickname emerged within minutes of your birth. That’s the funniest thing, too, because when we were waiting for Jacob to make his debut I thought of him as my monkey and Monkey he has remained to this day. No such name seemed to fit you until we met you and heard your cry which I am sorry to say makes us laugh. It’s not so much a cry as a statement. “Aaah,” you say, when things are not quite as they should be. And thus you became Princess. Sometimes you don’t bother to say it more than once because you are sure that once is enough to persuade us to do your bidding. You’re usually right about that. But when we don’t comply, like the other day when we were on the highway 30 minutes from home, you dial it up to an angry, growling frenzy as fast as you can. Now about this Princess business: We will have to teach you its limits and appropriate uses and how to be a gracious servant to your fellow man, but I don’t think we mind too much, because really there’s no argument here. You are without any doubt our princess, with no reservations.
The other thing I’ve been calling you is My Little Person. As I said before, I feel like I hardly know you. I don’t have enough time to study you as I would like and with only a month of life you remain a mystery to me. I don’t know who you are, what you like, how you’ll think. I only know that you are already a tiny bundle of everything you’re going to be, all your own and no one like you. Already, you are all there. It mystifies me, boggles my mind, how a whole person can be contained in such a tiny package. You are a wonder.
I love you.