I just put Olivia down for her nap. She didn't want to go down. We did the usual routine: read a couple of books, put her blankies in in the right order, put down her kitties in the right spot, then tried to caber-toss her into the crib ("the big throw"), but she started fussing. So I just picked her up and snuggled her for a while.
How can someone I've seen and hugged every day of her life be so independent of me? I birthed her and I've tended her constantly, never going more than a few hours without seeing her. But as I held her against me I tried to remember the way that squirmy little newborn felt, or even that shy baby - it wasn't the gangly little girl whose warmth I felt against my chest. The long, black eyelashes, the fingers that were slightly sticky with peanut butter residue, the long, skinny legs with light smears and bruises from childhood's bumps, even the smell - this wasn't my baby; even more, this wasn't mine. She's her own person, as individual and as far from my control as any other being that ever lived. She doesn't have to think about me or love me - she still needs me, but she doesn't have to love me. I'm glad she does, because I have to love her - morals and conscience aside, I simply can't help it.