Photos: Jeff Nakahara, Jeff Nakahara Photography (http://www.jeffnakaharaphoto.com/)
Our Bambalina Mina is now 4!! (We had a nickname for her in my womb, “Bambalina/o” meaning “little child” in Italian, as we kept her gender a surprise until her birth.)
4 years since that most magical and empowering moment of my life: giving natural birth to this wonder of a being. It feels like a flash yet I know these past 4 years have been filled with countless moments of surprise, doubt, wonder, fear, giggles, tears, reflection, insight and always always love. Learning and growing in love.
There’s a part of me that misses the baby Mina, the toddler Mina, these stages seemed to have passed too soon. This part of me wants to hang on to every detail, record and remember every tender exchange, capture and carry them with me at all times, and even wish to trap time so I can have this moment last a little longer, but I know that’s neither possible nor the point.
One day, Mina says to me, “I don’t want to be 4, I want to stay a baby…Mama’s sad that I’m growing up.”
I was taken by surprise and quickly realized how my seemingly innocent expression of missing Mina’s babyhood was taking a toll, affecting her energy, her being. How unfair and selfish of me, “I love you just the way you are, Mina!”
I can neither control nor cage time, change, or love (and I wouldn’t want to anyway). Buscaglia says, “There is no stopping it, no holding it back; there is only going with it. ” I don’t want to hold her back, but I regret that my words were doing just that. Only by letting go, can I truly be free to engage in the moment. Every age, every stage is different, each with special discoveries and newness of becoming. I choose to welcome, embrace and celebrate each new day of our family life.
All the moments we’ve shared as a family are lived through each of us, growing through them and being changed by them.
Change is inevitable and so beautiful; it is proof that we are most alive.
Mina, now 4, is full of life, eager to learn and understand her world as she sees it, so brave and independent to do everything, “I can do it all by myself!” she constantly says with attitude. When she was still a baby, one of her earliest expressions was, “Mina do!” She’s the same little stinker, just a bit bigger, and sharing more of herself. Lucky for us.
At her 4-year wellness checkup, she greeted her doctor with, “I have a stethoscope, too, a real one!” (which she got as one of her birthday gifts). And when I asked if she wanted to hold my hand for the shot since she forgot to bring a friend (she always has one stuffed animal with her), she paused only for a second and shrugged, “No, it’s okay, I’m 4 now, I’m fine.” Not a cry, and she later explained to the receptionist, “It hurt just for a bit and it was gone.” She’s becoming such a big girl and quite social. I’m so proud of her and so grateful to be a part of her happy life!
And her new greeting to anyone she meets now is “Hi, I’m 4!!!”