Happy Birthday, Bambalina Mina

DSCF9064 DSCF9190 DSCF9198 DSCF9252Photos:  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!!!”

we love. we are loved. with all its flaws and magic intact.

Another month’s escaped me since I first drafted this post…no more “Save Draft” for more edits, touch-ups.  With less time to write (let alone edit!), I just need to let the words out and let them be.  Just love them as they are, as I do my Mina.

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It’s been 2 months since my last post, 2 months since Mina’s first day of Friends & Me class.  Where does the time go?  Days, weeks, months just move too quickly…Mina is surely growing up too fast!  I can’t catch up to do the thing I really want to do: WRITE!  I just have to make time! Just Do It, right?

Today, I was touched by this quote:

“The best advice I’ve ever given — I hope — is that which I gave to my son when he was growing up. He said, ‘I don’t have any friends. How can I get some friends?’… I told him two things. I told him, ‘In order to get a friend, you have to be a friend…’ And also I told him, ‘There’s a place in you that you must keep inviolate. You must keep it pristine, clean, so that nobody has the right to curse you or treat you badly. Nobody. No mother, father, no wife, no husband, nobody.'”  – Dr. Maya Angelou

Makes me wish I was given this gift of advice when I was young but more greatly, makes me happy and proud to be able to share Maya Angelou’s advice with Mina (when she’s older, of course!).  I daydream about all the wonderful things I hope we’ll get to share as mother and daughter, as us as a family.

I’m not fooling myself; I am fully aware it won’t ALL be happy, breezy times.  There’ll certainly be challenging times beyond anything I could ever imagine now, but I hope I’ll be able to live through them with love and grace.

I smile thinking about all the wonderful things we already share: hugs & kisses, tickles & laughter, stories & poetry, even demands & tantrums.

Motherhood has been by far the most amazing gift ever, especially because I get to share this magical journey of parenting with the love of my life.  We have our moments.  He breaks my favorite bodum cup. Honey! I break our special artwork mug.  Sorry!  He runs my delicate new top in the dryer.  Again!  I nag at him.  Sorry…

Yet, even in the most annoyed moments, we know that it is just that, MOMENTS.  It’s fleeting, only momentary, never here to stay.  Even at the height of our annoyance, we each know, without a doubt, that we love and that we are loved.

Our love is never harmed or touched, only opens to reveal the unfathomably resilient unconditional love.  It’s like what Maya Angelou’s saying.  Our love is what we keep inviolate; we protect, keep our love safe and whole, with all its flaws and magic intact.

♥ happy 23 months ♥

In exactly a month, our baby Mina will be 2 years old!! Hard to grasp that soon it’ll be 2 years since that day of her birth; about 2 years, 9 months, and 1 week since that moment of her existence inside my womb.

The passing of time is intangible but what’s tangible is Mina’s growth: she is changing every day right before our eyes. The passing of time is immaterial but what’s material or essential is our interactions and connections that fill that time: we’re changed by our exchanges, we’re strengthened by our experiences. This makes me realize that the only meaningful way to carry our past with us is in our growth, our lessons; the only meaningful way to exist is to let this moment change us for the better.

I can’t help but feel that time is flying by; Mina is growing up too fast! I want time to slow down, so I can indulge in this moment just a little bit longer. Pretty selfish of me, I know. I just don’t want to miss a thing, and I want to remember every detail. Pretty impossible, I know.

I can’t change the flow of time, but what I can change is my attitude towards time. I can’t take any time for granted and I have to make every moment count. All that’s in my power to do, then, is to pay attention in every moment, because “every interaction counts” and “this very moment is the perfect teacher.” (Tiffany Shlain & Pema Chödrön respectively)

I’m so grateful for our Mina. She inspires me to change for the better.

Mina is our perfect darling daughter, our sweetest sunshine.

♪ ♪ Here comes the sun, here comes the sun, and I say, It’s all right… ♪ ♪