by Linda Hoye
“Push! Come on, you can do it! Keep pushing! Look down here at the mirror; the baby is coming!” The delivery room nurse urges me to look toward the mirror positioned at the end of the bed.
“I can’t see! I don’t have my glasses on.” Why didn’t someone tell me that I’d need my glasses?
I give one more push with everything that is left in me and feel my baby slip from my body.
“It’s a girl!”
They lay her on my chest, and I look into the eyes of a beautiful, dark-haired, baby. Laurinda is crying, red-faced, and obviously distressed at being so suddenly removed from the quiet and safety of the womb. The delivery room with its bright lights and hurried voices must be overwhelming to one accustomed to the silence of the pre-birth world. As her tiny fist grasps my finger my world shifts and my identity changes. I am now a mother.
Laurinda is, as my mom says, a “good baby”. She is happy, healthy, rarely fussy, a good eater, and an easy baby to care for. She’s perfect in my eyes. I delight in watching her grow and change and seeing her personality emerge. One day her imagination sparks an idea and she takes my face in her hands and looks me straight in the eye.
“You’re the big lion and I’m the little lion.” She tells me very seriously. I am not exactly sure what she is trying to tell me.
Fast forward sixteen years.
These terrible teenage years seem to last an eternity. She seeks to establish her own identity and, in doing so, wrestles against anything and everything that smacks of “family”. Our relationship is strained during these years when she strives to be the opposite of me in every way. Her brother teases her sometimes by telling her she is “just like Mom”. It is the insult of insults to her.
Fast forward fifteen more years.
Now my baby has a baby of her own and it blesses my heart to see her care for her own daughter. Laurinda is traditional, preferring books and building blocks to video games and electronic toys. She’s a teacher, gently introducing letters, numbers, colors, and new ideas in the course of everyday life. She’s committed to her daughter’s health and has a definite policy about what she can and can’t consume.
The relationship between Laurinda and I has changed, grown, and deepened over the years. It is one of the greatest blessings in my life that I can call my daughter my friend. The other day I was thinking about the scene in the movie The Lion King where Rafiki holds up his cub Simba, and I was reminded of my young daughter’s curious comment about me being the big lion and her being the little lion. It seems appropriate that today I symbolically stand in the place of Rafiki and hold up Laurinda. I’m proud of her and she has brought more joy into my life than I could ever have imagined on that October morning thirty-three years ago.
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I am a full-time HR Business Analyst and a part-time writer currently on a memoir about my quest as an adoptee to find healing from deep and unrecognized grief. I nourish my muse with the taste of caramel frappuchinos, the scent of Yankee Candles, the sound of quiet classical music, the vision of Mrs. Potato Head and Gumby and Pokey on the corner of my desk, and the feeling of my smallest Yorkie on my lap. I live in Washington state with my husband and our two doted-upon Yorkshire Terriers. When I’m not writing or working, I have the most fun spending time back in Canada with my husband, our children, and our two brilliant grandchildren. Learn more at: A Slice of Life Writing