And then, at 3:07am on July 18th, her due date, my punctual little girl came into the world. She was so quiet for the first few minutes, but then filled the room with her rage. She was strong enough to work her way out of the bundled blanket that the nurses so efficiently wrapped her in, and to this day she still sleeps with her limbs sprawled across the bed.
Loud, fiercely independent, and taking up as much space as possible since the moment she was born. Just like her mama.
I remember this feeling of absolute perfect love crashing over me. I was so incredibly lucky to not feel a moment of sadness after having her. I beamed for days. She was here. I made her. I birthed her. I felt like I didn't know what I was doing, but it was clear that my body was a professional. I was a rock star. I could not believe that this flawless human was made from such a tiny seed. It was amazing. She was amazing. Since I had Avery, there is nobody who can tell me that miracles do not happen. She is my proof.
As much as I loved her, I was terrified. I was so afraid that I would ruin her somehow. That I would do the wrong thing, or say the wrong words, or set the wrong example. Along with love crashed responsibility. I had a duty to mould this 7lb, pink sleeper wearing infant into a functioning adult. This was day one, and I had so many days to go. So many opportunities to screw up.
And then I blinked. And she was finished kindergarten. And she can read, and she can write, and she has lost five teeth, and still has a space where one of her front teeth should be that gives her the cutest smile. She is polite and kind and silly. She loves dolls and has two best friends and despite how things may appear, she adores her little brother.
When she grows up, she wants to be a vet. Not a nurse like her mom, not a princess or a ballerina. A veterinarian. I realize that this will change in the next 12 years, but I am so proud of the way she makes up her own mind.
She is still loud and independent. She tests the rules and she answers back and she questions everything. She is unbelievably bossy, not surprising as Avery means "leader". As much as it makes me want to tear my hair out, I am so glad that she is her own person. Nobody pressures Avery to do anything she doesn't want to do. I desperately hope she holds on to these traits with white knuckles. She will need that strong will in the years to come.
There are days that I love her so much I could burst. There are days that I feel like all I do is yell. The latter are the days that I realize I am raising a smaller version of myself. I have yet to decide whether this is good or bad.
But at the end of the day, six years in, I do know one thing for certain; Avery, my first born, has changed and moulded me as much as I have her.
I did not know unconditional love or happiness or rage or fear until she came into my life. I did not know hope or strength or responsibility or absolute pure exhaustion. I didn't know I could laugh so hard or yell so loud or function on such a small amount of sleep. I did not know what it was like to be so sure that I would give my own life for another human being.
I taught Avery how to eat with a fork, how to dress herself, how to pee in the potty. She has taught me so much more in her six years than I could ever write down.
In short, she has taught me how to be a mother.
Most importantly, she has taught me to be afraid to blink.