Before my daughter was born, I prayed for and over her daily. I prayed that she would be strong and healthy, that she would be smart and curious, and that she would be full of joy.
I did not pray that she would sleep, that she wouldn’t cling, or that her need would only equal what I wanted to handle. In the greater scheme of life, those mundanities lacked import.
I remind myself of this as we struggle our way through this latest developmental leap meets wonder week meets teething meets learning to crawl and cruise.
She is strong enough to pull her body up, to support herself on her own feet; strong enough to practice the fine art of motion while laying in bed. She is curious to see and know the world; she is curious enough to be captured by the restless wonder of it even after the lights are dimmed at night. She is healthy enough to be meeting her milestones one after the other, an often arduous practice that keeps her awake. She is smart enough to already have learned a handful of words, to know animal sounds, to comprehend instead of just see the world around her; she is smart enough to practice these important skills at night when the rest if the world quiets. She is joyful; trusting that her needs will be met, that her development will be supported, that she won’t be left alone, she lights up any room with the exuberance of her laughing smile,
She is every single thing I asked for.
I was not prepared for the work of it. I was not prepared for the depth of her need; a need that is more emotional than physical. I was not aware that I would sometimes want nothing more than to be where I could not hear her, where she could not see me, where I could just be alone. I didn’t know that the sound of her whining cry would sometimes twist in my spine and make me grit my teeth while I, reluctantly, lifted her and we snuggled both of our frustration away.
It is more than I thought. But she is everything that I hoped.
And if I were to do it again, to pray it again before she arrives, my prayer would be the same.
Healthy and strong, smart and curious, full of joy.