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The Gift

"Making the decision to have a child - it's momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body."-- Elizabeth Stone

My friend once said that she'd rather jump in front of a bus than have a child. I would jump in front of a bus for my child. When I was about five months pregnant I told Andy I loved the baby more than him. Of course, I love Andy so much and can not imagine life without him but the love I had for the life we created was the most intense feeling to experience. I hadn't even met her yet, and I could not imagine my life without this baby.

From the moment you find out you're pregnant, everything you do is for the baby. The baby is with you wherever you go and sleeps and grows to your every movement and to the sound of your voice. Someone told me a baby automatically loves her mother's voice. That's nice for me since my voice is high and often, irritating to others.

When Caroline was first born, the love was instinctual. I wasn't sure what to think of her, or if I really liked her per se, but out of love and drive I cared for her every minute of the day. I protected her and kept her close to me. Her bassinett was as near to my bed as I could get it. Andy drove us around like our cabby, with me in the back beside Caroline so I could always see her and hold her hand.

As she has grown and turned into a little person, my heart pounds with energy and an ever-increasing love for her. I can not wait to see her face when I open the door at daycare and I still don't mind if she wakes up in the middle of the night and I cuddle her in my arms and rock her back to sleep. I love to see her first thing in the morning when she rolls over and gives me a sheepish smile or when I get out of the car and open her door and she looks surprised and happy to see my face. Lately in the car, Andy and I stop talking to hear her cooing and whispering to herself. When we are talking and start laughing, she always joins in. She laughs just because it is fun to laugh and because she wants to do whatever we are doing.

My second cousin died in a car accident this past weekend. He was 15. Although I've not spoken to my cousin, his mother, in about a year, her pain is mine and every other mom's and dad's. A co-worker lost her son in an accident this spring and when I told her I was sorry even though I didn't know how she felt, she told me I did know how she felt. All you have to be is a parent who wears her heart on the outside of her body, lets fate take it course, and never stops loving her child.

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