One More Moment

One More Moment

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: A Tribute to Moms

One More Moment

Only moments ago loud, panting gasps and a crescendo of moans crowded the air itself out of the room. But now there was only calm. Hush. Tranquility. Even my racing heart grew still. I swiped a forearm across my damp brow, reluctant to shift my eyes—for even a second—from the bundle I was cradling.

Already, the pain and exhaustion are a distant memory. I was too busy marveling at the miracle of new life to concern myself with the midwife’s final ministrations. Like Alice through the looking glass, I had stepped into another world. A world of wonder. A world of possibility.

With a curious fingertip, I traced her ear, as delicate as a seashell, then her wisp of a brow, and trailed lazily lower to her ducky-down cheek. I loosened the swaddling to inspect translucent nails and rosebud toes and to count them. One at a time.

I smoothed her cotton-ball head, and sipped at her puckered lips, content to simply watch her breathe. In and out, in and out, in and out. The tiny movement of her chest was barely perceptible. My breath caught when she opened her eyes and gazed into mine for a long, sacred moment. Satisfied, I hoped, with what they’ve seen, they feathered closed again.

I gathered her closer, rag-doll limp, surprising myself at the sudden, fierce rush of proprietorship and protectiveness I felt when the nurse reached to take her from my arms. No, just a bit longer. I nestled her closer, under my chin, near my heart.

I stroked a loose fold in her skin, knowing she would grow into it as surely as I was to fill my new calling. Even so, doubt wagged its head and I wondered, Am I ready for this unexplored role and the job description that comes with it? Can I give this baby the important and best parts of myself?

I squeezed my eyes against the threat of tears. There’s been more than one birth here this day, I finally realized. And then, reluctantly, I leaned over the bed to hand this precious first grandbaby back into the impatient, outstretched arms of my daughter.

Carol McAdoo Rehme

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