Helen and I have an intense relationship. It was so from the beginning. She was the baby I was determined to breastfeed. And I did. For about 5 months.
Things were different with Helen from before birth actually. I prayed for a baby that wanted her momma. I did. Sarah was my oldest and far too independent to "cling" to anyone. Dani was a "Daddy's girl." I told people throughout, "This one is MY baby." I was quite possessive of her future emotions. I wanted her to want me like no one had ever wanted me. I needed it. I needed to have a close bond with a child from the get-go.
And...I got it.
Don't get me wrong, I have a strong relationship with Sarah and Dani and Dominic and Vincent. But I also have a different relationship with each of them. And the intensity varies. And Helen's and my relationship is, by far, the most intense of them all.
The nursing relationship was interesting. We co-slept and she reverse-cycled and nursed and slept with me in my bed until 6 a.m. and would often sleep until 2 p.m. in the afternoon while I was at work. I ended up needing no pumping because she never took it anyway. She only wanted me to hold her and I never objected. I carried her around in a sling, I carried her around making dinner. From the time I got home in the evenings until the next morning basically, I would hold her and she would fuss and scream if I had to put her down (which of course, I did have to do, to take care of the others).
The toddler years maintained the intensity. Helen would cling to me. She had eyes only for me. She loved me "the most." She had (and still has) a direct connection to my heart.
As she has moved into the schooling years, I marvel at her because I always thought her need for attention from me, displayed with her defiant and often ornery behavior would spill over at school and the teachers would have to send notes home telling me that she needed to behave better or something. But instead I get lovely notes from the teacher saying she is a "great example to others" and parents of other children who tell me how cute and sweet my Helen is and the kids seem to love her as well.
I'm very over-protective of Helen because of my own body-image issues. I build her up as much as I can because I don't want her to think or say that she "has fat thighs". I want her to understand that God made her beautiful and she has a strong, athletic body that will never betray her.
Today we have a birthday party scheduled at the skating rink. Helen got an American Girl look-alike doll (which she named "Jessica") for her birthday and literally fell in love with her. It's so cute to watch her carry Jessica around with her through the house and play with her and take care of her.
I am so blessed to have this sweet, beautiful baby girl in my life. I never deserved such a complete answer to my fervent prayer for a baby who loved me and needed me. But I'm so thankful God saw fit to send her anyway.
|HELEN OLIVIA -- I LOVE YOU -- HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!|