Dear Delaney: a letter to my daughter

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Dear Delaney, 

I took a photo of you this morning (like I do almost every morning). When I uploaded it onto my computer, I gasped. Sure, technically speaking, it was not the greatest photo I had ever taken-- the focus was soft, the lighting was off, the composition was weak…and yet there you were, exactly as I want to remember you always.

You are 3 going on 4 in this photo, it is January and we spend a vast majority of our days tucked inside, away from the harsh winter air. You are always coloring pictures of our family where arms grow out of heads and noses align with eyeballs…and I think they are absolutely flawless. In fact, I often brag that you're an artist. Because to me, little girl, you could make a circle and I would think it was the most creative circle I have ever seen.

I never, ever want to forget how at age 3 you would follow me around and plop down wherever I was to chat…usually about nonsense or princesses. In the photo above you are sitting on the kitchen counter --criss cross applesauce-- telling me what you want daddy and I to name your baby sister. "Ana," like in Frozen. 

I just smile and say, "maybe baby."

You are on the verge of everything-- walking along the line where your family and the outside world meet. I see you becoming your own person-- outside of us. I see your personality sprouting like a wildflower in the spring. Your heart is spilling over and overpowering those around you. You give off the sweetest scent.

I am so terrified to watch you grow up and yet I ache with pride with every passing day. I miss yesterday and the day before that and the day before that and before that. I miss being the only one who could understand your words. I miss our secret language and the way you only needed me when you cried as a baby. I was your be-all and end-all. And now, you walk away from me in a crowd without so much as a glance behind you.

I smile, and yet inside I am choking back the fear of you no longer needing me.

You always say, "I'm getting bigger and bigger and bigger" as you perch on your tippy toes and reach to the sky. I cannot help but want to stop you.

I want to always remember your baby smell. The way you fit in my arms as if you were a continuation of my own body. And now, how you still rest perfectly on my hip.  It won't be like this for long...

I want to breathe you in and remember the softness of your cheeks and the curve of your little girl nose. 

I lived 25 years without you on this earth and the past 4 years with you...and now I can honestly say that I could never live another day without you-- without hearing your voice or feeling your presence.

You are more apart of me than my own heart. No, you are my heart. My passion. My fire. My entire world wrapped up in a teeny body with snarly hair and too much sass.

Your little sister will be born in the next month or so and I want you to know that though she may need me more, I will still be here for every second you need me. You are and will always be my "best girl." No matter what.

And at the end of the day, my bed and my arms will always be warm and waiting for your presence. I will always be your safe harbor and your escape. I will always mend your tears and brush your snarls. I belong to you, my love. I have your back, your heart and your hand and I will protect them with everything I am.

I love you so much my laneybug <3

Sarah Driscoll