She Is Here

She is here. Routinely I smoothe her fine black hair that was already thick and long, suck on her chubby fingers that we used to see only in ultrasound pictures, kiss the bottom of her soft pink feet, and lift her tiny bum to my face. Still, these moments feel unreal. After we reaffirm for each other that our dream is finally a reality, Danith and I mumble these words: our living baby is here. As a confirmation.

Nora is her own individual self. I see this in how she uses her right hand to prop up her chin or cheek. In how she quietly smiles with her eyes closed, as though she is privy to a secret. In how she purses her lips in an O after a feeding. I don’t think about Daffy or Kiri at those times. But. But I do see her sister and brother in her. I saw it later on the night she entered our world, when I cradled her and admired her. The oversized cheeks are her brother’s. The pouty upper lip is her sister’s. A part of me questions my motive for bringing Daffy and Kiri into her. This is Nora — can’t she be separate from her passed siblings? Of course. But. But how could I remain silent about who she is? Those beautiful parts — and all the rest — make up her splendid self.

A voice whispers to me. It is light and constant, veiled in white, leaning over my shoulders, reassuring me. Loving Nora more than I could possibly love any of my children is okay. Loving her in abundance is quite all right. Loving her this way does not diminish my love for Daffy or Kiri. Loving her this way only allows me to love them even more. I think the quiet voice is my biological mother’s.

Nora, I am watching you nap. Your eyes are twitching to open. Your lips are dancing in twists and turns. Soon, I will lift you, tucking the crown of your head under my chin. And I will have to ask myself again if this is reality.