I always knew I would love being pregnant. Unlike most third trimester women, I wanted to keep my baby right where she was; in my womb, kicking at me from within my body, making my tummy dance, and putting on quite the show.
I was in no hurry to release her. I was in too much awe and wonderment at the life I could cuddle and hug, who could not yet run away, out of the reach of my arms.
Now, my baby is three, and I am widowed. As I sort through my closet I decide it is time to pack away my maternity clothes, and pass them on to another vibrant, expectant mom-to-be. As I fold each shirt and place them in a bag, I smile with fond memories. One shirt has a bow in the middle. I remember how that bow perched itself, like wrapped decoration, on the hood of my round stomach. I delicately fold my grey party dress. How proud I was to drape that silver satin outfit over my belly, and graciously show it off at Christmas dinner.
Those were days of great joy. Days of intertwined connection with another being, silent life spoken through active womb movement, and my wonderment explored through bright-eyed amazement staring down at protruding elbows and feet.
I put the last outfit in the bag, as though I am laying that part of my life to rest. Then I remember, those clothes were just the wrapping paper. My true gift is sleeping in her bed, down the hall, recharging her energy for another active day filled with her own amazement, as she uncovers gifts of an unexplored world she has not yet learned to take for granted.
I say goodbye to the wrapping paper, and think about playing with my precious gift tomorrow morning, as though I am enjoying her again, for the very first time.