On our walk last night, we stopped in at our friends’ home. We live in the sort of small town where people still visit after dinner on front porches, back yards, and sidewalks. It’s what I love about living here—the casual, impromptu meetings, the gathering of friends to make sense of our days. After chatting on the front porch for a few minutes, watching the two, older kids wiz by us on their scooters, flashes of blonde hair catching my attention with each race, my friend took me to her back yard to give me some of her mint. After cutting some mint for me, I traded my arm load of my almost one-year-old daughter for the handful of mint. I smelled the mint—caught up in its wonderful smell and promise of mint sweet tea, one of my favorites, happy to be free of my little girl and her new habit of biting my arm and shoulder as I hold her. My friend, now the mother of a seven-year-old daughter, breathed in her newfound handful, too. Their hair, almost the same strawberry blonde color, caught the fading sun’s rays, and they both looked at peace. She breathed in my daughter, held her close, closed her eyes as she did and said, “She smells like the ocean.” The beauty of her words and observation hung in the air as I smiled at her, lost in my own thoughts.
My daughter will be one in three weeks and after thirteen years of dreaming of a baby girl, I was given her. I prayed for her; I begged for her; I cried about her. I’ve always known her, even before she was formed. I would see women with their daughters in their arms and wonder when I would be given my daughter. I knew that she would take her Daddy’s heart, twisting it until it hurt, and get her way every time. I knew that she would be tenacious, outgoing, and adventurous. I could see her in dreams, as she toddled through our house, creating havoc with every step. I knew her, but I wasn’t given her. And, over time, I became content with that. My son was all I had ever hoped for and the dream of a daughter was pushed to the back of my mind. But then my son started to pray for a baby sister each night. The first night he did, I was taken aback, as I hadn’t ever spoken to him about it. But he knew. His soul knew her, too, and he told me that God would send her to us. It was as if he had known her before and was just waiting for her arrival. He was so sure, and so my prayer turned, as I asked God not only to send me a daughter but also to send my son his sister.
I now know God answered our prayers when he sent us this sweet girl, who sat content last night in the arms of my friend and who is now peacefully asleep as this summer storm blows through. I sit now and say a quiet prayer of thanks for this daughter of mine—this ocean asleep in her crib. I now pray that our love for her surrounds her, like the ocean does an island, its waves lapping on the shore, shaping the shoreline and helping it take shape. I pray our arms become her respite, the safe haven for a little girl from the ocean’s tumultuous waves, as she takes anchor in the safe harbor of our arms. I pray that she one day explores the wide world, confident, because really, the ocean will find its match in the brave woman she will become. My prayer is that this sister knows how her brother adores her. I hope this baby girl knows how her daddy’s heart swells when she calls his name. I pray this daughter of mine, with her big blue eyes—eyes the color of the ocean—knows that my love for her is limitless, like the ocean.