Thank you Veronica for sharing your story – here it is:
Early in my pregnancy I had genetic testing to make sure everything was okay. I was 39-years-old, and while my instincts told me everything was probably fine, I still felt compelled to be practical and know what was ahead of me. Waiting for the results was hard. I found myself in a bad headspace caused by hormones and “what ifs”. But the day we got the call it finally came to a triumphant end. “The baby is fine,” the genetic counselor said. “There are no abnormalities. Do you want to know the sex?” My husband, who was listening on the other phone shouted out, “Yes!” She paused for a moment and said, “Okay, are you sitting down?” We assured her we were ready for the news. “You’re having…a girl!” The moment I heard those words my heart swelled and I leaped into the air. “Really?” I exclaimed. I felt pure elation; like a child who’d blown out her birthday candles and gotten exactly what she’d wished for. Although I had kept telling myself all I wanted was a healthy baby, I really wanted a girl. But I had stuffed the yearning way down, tucked it away in a place of “whatever happens, happens” so I wouldn’t be disappointed. Manage your expectations, I kept telling myself, “Manage them.” But, really, a girl. I had wanted a girl. I was having a girl.
Fast forward to now and Kennedy is no longer just an idea or a pure desire. She is her own little soul housed behind piercing blue eyes; strong, chubby thighs; a willful presence and a loud voice. “This girl has some lungs,” I often say to myself as she shouts from her Jumperoo when I disappear from one room into another, and she can no longer see me; as if to say, “Hey, where are you going! Stop! Wait.” I call out to her to assure her that “I’m here, I hear you; I will be right back!” and so it goes with Kennedy. She keeps me on my toes, and I’m glad for it.
It’s with that same verve she exhibits, that I sort through what our world has to offer and weave together the kind of life journey I wish her to have. One filled with tight squeezes, kissed toes, assurances she is loved, and reminders that she is her own person who has a voice, to be seen, heard, and counted. It’s an awesome responsibility, really. I’m not just her mother, but her tour guide too. Along with my husband, I get to pick from a decadent buffet of first world delicacies that I’m fortunate enough to expose her to: story times and sing-alongs at the library; hikes on Marin trails; visits to the beach, national parks and museums; a college education, travel. There’s so much, and it’s easy to feel carried away by the excitement and possibility of it all. But if I do my job right, she’ll know these delicacies as opportunities that not all girls her age everywhere get to have, and she’ll feel encouraged and compelled to savor and make the most out of every single one of them.
Ultimately, however, when it’s all said and done, Kennedy will know that her life is her call. Whatever she chooses to become, however she chooses to be, it will be hers to design. I think that’s the best way I know how to celebrate my daughter. It’s your choice Kennedy, know yourself, baby. Know yourself. So eyes tight; search your heart, deep breath in, summon your dreams, make a wish, now BLOW!
by Veronica Navarrette