There is an old Irish saying, “A son is a son till he takes him a wife, a daughter is a daughter all of her life.”  My daughter Brighid was born on September 8, 2011.  She was at least a month premature and spent an entire week in the neonatal intensive care unit.  The gestational diabetes that wreaked havoc on my body during pregnancy had taken a heavy toll on her as well: she had a sizable hole in her enlarged heart, her blood sugars were dangerously low, and she was unable to breathe normally during feedings. She often turned blue in my arms. She even occasionally stopped breathing while sleeping in her incubator at night.  

But there were a few gifts she gave us during those first critical weeks of her life.  The moment that Brighid was born, I heard a sweet noise, similar to the sound a little lamb makes.  This fragile vocalization, common in premature babies, only lasted about six weeks.  Brighid was born without eyelashes.  She had no cartilage in her ears; they lay close to her head, resembling tiny flaps of skin.  I used to gently peel her ears away from her head and hold them on my fingertips as she slept in my arms.  Between the two of us, my husband and I have raised four boys and, to me, she was absolute perfection. 

It is deeply satisfying to see the sun strike her hair, bringing out the brown, gold, and red highlights—my hair.  I love that her eyes are cornflower blue while mine are dark green and her father’s are brown.  I love how her skin is the color of sweetened, condensed milk.  I love how she’s tall like her father.  I love the soft curve of her belly.  I even love her sweaty little feet.  I love how she holds onto my hair when I’m carrying her, refusing to let go even when I try to put her down.  I love how she shrieks at the dogs when they wander in her direction, waving at them to come closer as they're high-tailing out of the room.  I love watching her play with her toys.  I love how she squeals at the cat when he’s sleeping on the back of the couch and he lazily opens one eye before falling back to sleep. I love the tiny dimple above the right side of her mouth that only appears when she’s thinking about smiling. 

I love how she screams at the top of her lungs, waving her arms and shaking with excitement, when she sees me at the end of the day.  I love how she flirts with her brothers and how she reaches up to touch my mother's face.  I love how her eyes light up when she sees her bathtub being filled with water and how she quivers with anticipation as her father sets her down inside.  I love how she bounces up and down on her round little bottom when she hears music playing—even when no one is watching.  I stare at her constantly, amazed at her beauty and brightness.

Having a daughter has been therapeutic for me.  It has helped to heal my soul and made me happy in ways I never expected.  And if the Good Lord calls me home before Brighid has time to get to know me, I’m certain that her brothers will tell her how honored and privileged I was to have met her.  “Although they came through you, they belong not to you, for they are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.  And theirs is the world of tomorrow; they need the confidence and courage to create the new world, a world full of love and peace” – Author unknown.