June 21st, 2012 at 5:32 P.M., Aliya Marie Ray came into our lives. She weighed 6lbs 11oz and was 19.5 inches long. Due to a rare gestational disease I was diagnosed with, Intrahepatic Cholestasis, she was born via C-section three weeks early. This C-section, unlike my first one, went without a hitch. After they prepped and opened me up my doctor removed the scar tissue off my bladder (my son tore my bladder in two places and it had to be repaired directly after he was born via C-section in 2008), they scooped baby girl out and then tied my tubes. I remember she didn’t cry a lot, she was too busy sucking her thumb, but she was alert. “God is so good” was all I could think.
For those of you that don’t know, June 21st is the summer solstice; longest day of the year. I find it terribly ironic that my daughter was born on that day. At two years old she has more charisma than most adults I meet. It’s almost as if the stars aligned and agreed that her larger than life personality needed those extra hours of sunlight for her special day. And like the day she was born, she has captured my heart every day afterwards with amazing force.
Blonde hair, blue eyes and dimples. A gigantic smile and a mischievous gleam in her eye. She is her daddy’s mini. And much like her daddy, when I am upset at something she’s done, she gives me that dimpled smile and my heart just melts. I sometimes have to pinch myself to make sure that the little angel in front of me is real and I didn’t just dream her up.
So how has she changed me?
When we found out we were pregnant with a girl someone said this to us “when you have a boy you only have one penis to worry about, when you have a girl you have everyone’s penis to worry about”. Yowza. But they were right! Suddenly, I realized “oh my gosh, this little girl is going to grow up one day!” I have to protect her! (For those who haven’t read some of my posts, I’ve had a rough childhood. That childhood includes being molested two different times by two different men) But, as a parent, you know that you can’t be around your child 100% of the time. This caused me major anxiety. They will go to daycare, school, friends houses, church and *enter any location away from you here*. How can I protect my daughter if I can’t be around her all the time? I stressed about that stuff with my son but not to the extent that I did with my daughter. Maybe because I know what it’s like to be hurt at a very young age? Maybe the little girl in me doesn’t want what happened to me to happen to my daughter. I don’t know but sometimes the thoughts paralyze me. I’ve come to realize that I need to educate her as best as I can on how to protect herself but also to let her know that I will always love her and be a safe refuge for her. That’s really the best we can do as parents, right?
Aliya has definitely cured any lingering issues that I had with my absent father. Back before I had children and I was married to my first husband, I was afraid to have a baby. I was afraid if I had a girl that I would be jealous of any close relationship that she and my husband would have. When I had my first child with my ex so much of that fear went away. I reveled in the fact that my husband was a good daddy and he and my son grew close. Seeing my current husband, Jason, with our daughter makes me realize how lucky she is! How lucky that she has a daddy who loves her and holds her and makes her laugh. What an amazing feeling that I almost let some non-existent father steal from me.
I’ve watched boys become men. We have five boys in the house, ages range from 15 to 6. The minute they held her they became these little men who wanted to protect her. They spoil her rotten and she soaks up every moment of it. Just last night I was watching the oldest two boys run from one room to the next and each time, five seconds after they would run by, little Aliya would be running after them. Her chubby belly, infectious laugh, hands outstretched and they welcome her each time with hugs and kisses. Sometimes the interaction between the boys and Aliya is almost too much for my heart to take, these children are so amazing.
Most importantly she made me self-aware. The way I dress, the way I handle myself, the way I talk about myself. Before Aliya I wanted to be a woman who the boys would look up to and think “that’s what I want my wife to do”. But with Aliya the actions will be deeper for her. Mom carried herself with confidence, never took any crap. Mom always did the right thing. Mom always stood at daddy’s side. Mom always let me know she was here for me. Those are things my daughter will, hopefully, want to emulate. We already have a routine in the mornings. She brushes her teeth with me, we get dressed and then we put on make up. I realized early on that she wanted to copy me so I gave her some empty make up containers and old make up brushes. When I am putting my make up on she is copying every move I make. If she copies me over the “little” things then I know she will with the bigger things.
Thank you, little princess, for being such an amazing soul. Thank you for teaching me so many things about life and about myself. With those tiny little hands you have already touched so many people’s hearts. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for you.