Two years ago today, I sat in a hospital where I'd had one of the most traumatic experiences of my young life a mere eighteen months prior, praying that lighting didn't strike twice.
Your father was ever attentive, to atone for his misdeeds the last time, and as the day wore on and you stayed inside of me I began to worry, so deeply, that things weren't going to work out.
You see, Tovalah, you are a very special child, borne of very special women with a very special number in common, and as that Friday dragged on without so much as a tremor from the uterus that held you, I was very afraid that I would be responsible for breaking the spell, for being the last in a line of three generations of women born on the 27th of the month.
Then my water spontaneously broke.
Of course, I was already hooked up to contraptions and confined to my gurney and had to convince the nurses that no, no my catheter did not fall out I felt a pop inside of me and now I'm all wet and I'M SURE I'M NOT PISSING MYSELF CAN YOU PLEASE CHECK IF MY WATER BROKE THANK YOU and sure enough, it had.
That was the only thing I wanted out of this second birth experience, something natural, and down to the wire you finally delivered that for me.
A few hours and four pushes later, your not-so-little red-headed self was placed in my arms and you looked back at me with my own pitch black eyes and that shock of red hair and I knew, I knew.
You were the daughter I've been waiting for my whole life.
The fourth twenty-seven.
And to see you know, my god, you are SO my daughter it's unbelievable. Though to be honest, you bear a stronger resemblance to your father, but sometimes you give me a look or you strike a miniature pose and there I am, looking right back at the adult I've become and I'm awestruck by you.
You are fierce, and you are strong. You live with reckless abandon, and are never afraid to get dirty or take care of something yourself, if you can. You love openly and brazenly and exhibit kindness and generosity already, despite your young age. You are perceptive and intuitive; bright and coy and precocious as all get out.
You love shoes. And accessories. Thank god.
You are curious to a fault and more than slightly manipulative. You know how cute you are and you work it, yes you do. You are hellfire on wheels when you don't get your way, and we both know that has nothing to do with a developmental age, but with your mother's genes buried just below your fair surface.
But most of all, you are mine.
You have shown me everything I had hoped about motherhood to be true could actually be. You have taught me how to be a better mother to both you and your brother, and reminded me what it's like to laugh and be silly because your giggles and your crinkled nose are like cocaine to me, and I cannot get my next hit fast enough. Your wet baby kisses are the sweetest nectar and the feel of your still-barely-chubby hand in mine reminds me of my purpose in life, and that, Tovabelle, is you.
You were the only good thing to come out of a very bad situation.
And I would do it all over again just to see your pudgy newborn face again.
I love you, Tova Regina Gabrielle, my little pumpkin-headed gingersnap.
Happy second birthday.
The photos within this post are from a workshop my family participated in, taught by family friend and awesome lady, Jacquelynn Buck. However, she didn't take these. Photos 1, 6, & 7 are courtesy of Beth Larsen; photos 2, 4, & 5 are courtesy of Linda Sue Phillips; photo 3 is courtesy Bill Woody. I watermarked them because I'm paranoid about people stealing my babies' faces and somehow using them for unsavory purposes. Let me know if you'd like to get in touch with any of these lovely photographers -- and I'll get around to posting more from this experience here in a while.