I don't know how it is for other parents, but I see signs every day that my husband and I have never succeeded in moving out of the "sheer wonderment" stage of parenthood.

I remember a random day at home when the Q was very small - I think she had just begun to walk, and was toddling unsteadily between us. She was facing me, burbling or signing something that I was trying hard to understand (at that stage she was still far from comprehensible speech) and Mike was behind her. Both of us were squatting down on our haunches, bracketing her as we so often do, for attention, for protection, for whatever she might need. I laughed out loud at whatever she was doing, and I could see my husband's face mirror my glee. As our eyes met, he gave me a conspiratorial glance, and silently mouthed "LITTLE GIRL!" while pointing, wide-eyed, to the top of her glossy black head.

(Photo is of Q and her daddy during our first few days together in China. She is just 11 mos old and her cleft unrepaired.)
To me, that moment has always been the most eloquent illustration of the wonderment I know my husband holds inside him every minute of every day that we are lucky enough to serve as her parents. As do I. As do I.

He still calls her "Little Girl" when he speaks to me, as in "The Little Girl is brushed and washed and fading fast". But the way that he says "little girl"....he might as well be saying "The unicorn".

"The Unicorn is fed."

"I just tucked in The Unicorn."

"The Unicorn is sound asleep."

My  husband really could not be any more surprised that we are the parents to a small girl child...that someone, one hot, sticky morning in an office building in Eastern China, walked in and handed us a baby. Never having anticipated fatherhood (just as I never anticipated being a mother) it just blows him away to this day. I think you could still knock him over with a feather at the very thought.

I'm speaking for him,  of course, and he could probably describe his feeling far better. Maybe he sees it in different terms in his own mind. But this is my blog and I write it as I see it. For my part, my wonderment has another sort of quality. To me, though I never imagined I'd be a mother, and that part of it certainly took my by surprise, I am even more astounded that I am the mother to this child...of all the children ever born on this amazing earth.

If I were any less human and in need of sleep, I would probably stay up all night by  her side to just gaze at her as she slumbers. The preternaturally-straight line of her eyelids as she sleeps. The smoothness of a faintly berry-scented cheek. The faint, ethereal hitch and ride of her breath.
 She is, to me, the most beautiful and astonishing creature I have ever seen in my life. She is my unicorn, just as she is my husband's, but I'd venture to guess in a slightly different way. I am floored by her beauty. The sound of her voice is like the siren's song to me. I would happily crash myself to bits on the rocks for that beauty, that song. 

Her ease, her confidence, her charisma is my holy grail. I am constantly amazed by her poise, her "Q-ness", her sense of self, not to mention her unspeakable thrall on all those she passes on the street. 

So yes, she is my Unicorn. 
She is my changeling, and my siren, and my Belle Dame Sans Merci. She is every seductive legend that has ever been writ or spoke in the history of mankind. She is my miracle, my water nymph, my waking dream. She makes me fear and hope in equal, heart-pounding parts. She is the rush of blood through my veins and the ineffable sparkle of first love before my smitten eyes. She is everything to me, and when she says "Ah-ooh, Mommy" (I love you) I am reborn each and every time.


Yanyan said...

Oh Maia!! I don't know what to say when I read your post, I got teary eyed and those photos...

ChantaleP said...

Le sigh... I felt your every word. Beautiful.

Yoli said...

She glows with that love. I love seeing those early pictures. It is so shocking to see how much she has grown. She was so tiny Maia.

FDChief said...

I guess my primary reaction is "envy". I love our little peeps, but I won't deny that the moments of transcendent joy, humor, contentment, and discovery are interspersed with moments of boredom (Barbies/shooter games just don't work for me), irritation ("We need to get to school NOW and I won't ask you to get your shoes on again"), frustration (No, your mom told you to do that and we've talked about how asking me afterwards is not okay"), and outright anger ("The phrase "gay" is NOT okay to use as a description of something you don't like and you KNOW it's not because we've talked about this before!" "When your mom asks you nicely to do something "I don't care" is NOT an acceptable answer!")

I'd like some magic, please.

Jocy said...

This was so moving. Thank you for sharing.

Michal said...

What a beautiful post. How lucky the three of you are, to be able to be present in each other's hearts and minds like this.
She is a magical little thing, your Q.
I don't feel like this all of the time, but I feel it at least 102 times a day. The way my daughter's hair catches the light. The way my son moves his shoulders and thinks he's shakin' his booty.
For me it is very specific to each child as well. This girl. This boy.
Your love and unbridled enthusiasm for your daughter is an inspiration and helps me to be better for my own magical creatures. I thank you for that.

M@rgriet said...

* sigh * beautiful post * sigh again * Lovely photo's * another deep sigh ;-) you always did love the unicorns and now you have your own pet-unicorn! xxx M

Jeanne-ming said...

bawling my eyes out

liza said...

Such a beautiful post!

Jan said...

Well said Maia!!! I know how you feel!! Oh how we love visiting you!!

kitchu said...

!! no words, just exclamations !!