No matter how old she grows, she’ll always be my baby

Published: December 13, 2012
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As much as I want to hold on to the baby in my six-and-a-half-year-old big girl, I am ready to let go, inch by inch.

Recently, my daughter graduated from kindergarten. The emotions I feel are hard to describe.

As clichéd as it sounds, I still remember the first time I held her in my arms. I remember being mesmerised by her dark eyes, as if they still held secrets of the world they had come from, wide awake and looking right into my soul.

I remember the feeling that took over me; a feeling more powerful than love, more powerful than any other emotion I had felt before that. I don’t have a name for that emotion. Only a mother knows that emotion and understands it. It was like no one and nothing else mattered anymore.

I had waited for an eternity before the moment I held her. In reality, the first time I held her was an hour after I gave birth to her. I suffered and cried for that one hour I was forced to wait to hold her as she was admitted in the NICU because of the unbearably long delivery. That one hour was longer than the few days of labour and delivery.

And then, when finally my legs could feel again and the doctors allowed me to go to see her, that moment changed my life. My dad had told me;

Life will never be the same again.”

Little did I know how true his statement was.

I spent my days and my nights worshipping this little creature that was a part of me ─ was and always will be.

I would lose my mind any time she would cry, and she cried a lot. I’d rush to the doctor if she would only but sneeze. I remember hitting my head on the window in the car because she hit her head and cried and I wanted to know exactly how much pain she felt. I remember tasting her medicines before giving them to her, to know exactly how much her mouth would suffer. I remember feeding her with my hands till she was five.

Most of my friends, who knew me at that time, and my family, thought I was crazy. And I was.

Letting go of her, when she started kindergarten, was a tumultuous process for me. It felt like I was going to let my child go out into the big bad world and I could no longer protect her and watch her every move. But then I found out that the kindergarten classes were separate from the rest of the school. Their playgrounds were separate and their bathrooms were inside the class. The children were still treated like ‘babies’. I felt relieved and ready for it.

I don’t think she understands or will ever understand my love for her. She is my first-born. She will hold, forever, a place in my heart that no one else can take. Even though, since the birth of her baby brother, I have scolded her more times than I would like to admit. I have been annoyed with her, impatient with her, I’ve screamed at her. She will remember this. But she will not know of the guilt that would take over me every single night for the first 18 months of her baby brother’s life, for being so hard on her during the day.

Every night I would promise myself, tomorrow I will not lose my patience with her. But in the morning, after a night of endless nursing sessions and diaper changes with the baby, all promises would be forgotten, until night would come again and I would feel the guilt all over again.

Firstborns are a strange breed; I am one and have had a love-hate relationship with this title. They are smothered and protected, yet they are expected to understand and do things beyond the limited scope of their over-sheltered experiences.

With the immeasurable love that they are showered upon comes this expectation that they need to suddenly stop being babies as soon as a second one comes. She knows now she is the big ‘Appa’ who has to act like a big girl. She has lovingly accepted this title. But the truth is that she will always be my baby. Always.

With my second one, my ‘farishta’ (angel), I realised he did pretty much everything in his tw0-and-a-half-year-old life sooner than his sister. He weaned off sooner. He learnt to eat sooner. He crawled sooner. He climbed stairs sooner. He zoomed off slides in parks sooner. This was all because I let him; because I knew it was okay to let him fall and then get up and try again. His birth helped me come out of the spell that had held me paralysed with fear of the unknown since my daughter’s birth. I finally realised everything was going to be okay. I had to let them grow and learn and make mistakes and cry, then grow more. It was a gruelling process but one which I am eternally grateful for.

Now in grade one, she is finally going to be part of the big bad world that I had been so afraid of till last year. As much as I want to hold on to the baby in my six-and-a-half-year-old big girl, I am ready to let go, inch by inch.

I am proud of myself for finally growing up, too, and being able to understand that all I have to do is remember to breathe, because, everything will be okay.

Read more by Tayyaba here.

T Hassan

T Hassan

The author is a writer, dreamer, social activist and a Communications Major at California State University. She does Social Media and Marketing for various non-profit organizations and blogs at tabzy.wordpress.com/

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • JK

    Wow. Nice article. May god bless your daughter and your fam.Recommend

  • Osman

    Why would I or anyone else want to know how you feel about your daughter?Recommend

  • MK

    Whooops! I didn’t know I had stumbled onto ‘Dear Diary, today I…..’, rather than expecting something more meaty from Express Tribune. My bad.Recommend

  • AKKK

    Im sorry but blogs as personal as this should not be featured! No one really cares about the personal lives of your bloggers! Recommend

  • Hasan

    Beautifully expressed and the feelings of love and protectiveness for their children apply to fathers too although admittedly there is nothing like a mother’s love for her child. Your article gives words to the emotions of all mothers who can not express themselves this way including my own mother and now my wife can relate to this.Keep it up!Recommend

  • Rafiaa

    Wow brought tears to my eyes! I just became the mother of a baby two months ago and I can relate to every single word and the future scares me but you are right; ‘breathe and everything will be okay’Recommend

  • https://twitter.com/BajiPlease Baji Please

    An absolutely amazing read. A mug of hot aromatic Lemongrass qewha in my hands, winter breeze and your blog – perfect combo – made my morning!Recommend

  • uzma ausaf

    @AKKK:
    @Osman:
    precisely why men are not mothers!!! I am sure many men out there can relate to this because they have seen their mothers,sisters wives or daughters going through all of this.Of course the intensity of a mother’s love for her kids is special to her but one should not be so insensitive to matters like these because you might not have a personal experience of something yet it can touch your heart as it expresses something universal.
    WOW Tayyaba!! I would love to read more stuff from you on diverse topics.Great job indeed!!!Recommend

  • Pessimist

    Why most some fools (read men) ruin this article? I read the article and I could not understand the feelings of the author, but that does not give me the right to post utter non-sense. Trust me when I say this, it is next to impossible to describe the feelings a mother has for her newborn, and I say this as a dude. The author has tried to describe her feelings, and has done a good job. Congratulate her and move on.

    P.s: This blog is filed under The way I see it. This is not politics, sports or a movie review. If you care enough to read the article, at least have the decency to post a reasonable well thought out comment, not some utter tosh.

    I’m in a very bad mood now :xRecommend

  • Pro Bono Publico

    Dear Tayyaba,

    Like always, even this time you have left your readers amazed and impressed on such brilliant articulation on the slightest of the details.
    Just the feeling from your last-shot i.e. Unspoken-Words, It felt like one is actually in the picture, feeling each and every detail happening around, visualizing it in every-perfectly-chiseled sentense of yours.
    It would be much better if you had shared some shots of your angels. :)

    Please dont stop writing. Keep-up-the-brilliant-work!!
    You surely are a true and a perfect mother.

    P.S: Please dont pay any slightest heed to what others have to say, for truly there are very-less present who could actually recognize the true-gem behind a sparkle.Recommend

  • Insaan

    @Pessimist: I’m in a very bad mood now :x

    Don’t blame your “bad mood” on few comments you did not like. There is some thing else going on. Hope you feeling better now.

    You are doing same thing author did by her emotional reaction to her daughter……..
    Even though, since the birth of her baby brother, I have scolded her more times than I would like to admit. I have been annoyed with her, impatient with her, I’ve screamed at her.

    I wonder if her first born was a boy and daughter was next in line. Would she have scolded his son more times, got annoyed, impatient with him and screamed at him? I don’t think so.

    It is nice to see author is trying to do the best and trying to learn……. Recommend

  • Osman

    @Uzma ausaf
    Well not only mother-child relationship special, child-mother relationship can equally be special. Whatever the case, this is not the right place to discuss relationships.Recommend

  • Pessimist

    Insaan

    Actually I was very ill yesterday. I would say the utter nonsense posted by people on the Ayesha Omar blog drove me mad, the comments here were just the tip of the ice berg.

    As for your comment, I don’t think so a son or daughter would have made the difference. My sister is older than me and she gets all the love in the family ;)Recommend

  • Anwar Ul Haq

    Marvelous article,,,, the same i can feel which my wife do with our daughter…..
    May God Bless & keep away from any harm to our kids for ever……..Recommend

  • uzma ausaf

    @Osman:
    I respect your opinion…education has taught me to listen to and consider other people’s perspective.Recommend

  • Osman

    Which part of education teach us to find out about random people family relations. Next time someone might come up with saas-bahoo jhagrey.Recommend