On this day 15 years ago, I welcomed my very first baby into the world with the help my husband. I was in total denial that I was even in labor when my contractions began. I thought I had indigestion from the steak that I indulged in earlier that night, and maybe I was a bit tired from all the walking and the shopping that I did all through out the day.
After Gia was born, while we were still in the hospital, both of us recovering from the arrival, I realized that I was unsure of the adventure I was embarking on. I don’t mean that I was unsure of the fact that I wanted to be a mother…I had wanted to be a Mommy for as long as I could remember…I was unsure of my ability to take care of another human being who was completely dependent on me for every single thing.
I was afraid I wouldn’t be a GOOD mother, and I thought I might hurt or “break” the baby that I was blessed with because I was so very nervous. I remember at some point during our hospital stay that Gia had some extra mucous stuck in her throat and it was causing her to choke. It was a good thing the nurse was there at that exact time, teaching me how to give her a bath! She whisked Gianina away to the nursery so that she could suction the mucous out effectively and came back with a smile. Here I was wanting to break down and cry…and the nurse was smiling and chatting away about the bath time we would have together when I brought my daughter home.
I thought to myself that if I was home, I wouldn’t know how to react to this kind of emergency and I voiced my concern to Nino that maybe we should stay a couple of more days in the hospital just to be sure we learned everything we needed to know about taking care of a little girl on our own.
When I would hold Gia and nurse her as a baby, she would do this thing where she would use her free hand to stroke my arm as she would fall asleep. I knew she would be nodding off when she stopped sticking her fingers in the sleeve of my shirt and twirling the fabric. As a toddler, I knew and looked forward to the one last yawn she would have before she would nod off to dream land because I knew that I could stay in the crook of her neck and take in the wonderful sweet baby smell that was always a combination of intoxication, comfort, and had a feel of soft powdery heaven.
As she grew into a precocious little girl, my mother in law would often recall the nights when she first stayed with us after Gia was born. She shared with me that she was so surprised when she heard me singing my daughter back to sleep at 3 am after a changing and a feeding. She would share that she knew that Gia was the smart, endearing, and quick on her feet little girl because she was so well loved.
I remember all those years ago Nino and I thought we were ready for parenting. I thought I would dress my little girl up and she would be my mini me, she would love doing the things that I did, she would be caring, and helpful and intelligent. I remember thinking that I would teacher all the great many things that I learned along the way about girlfriends, boyfriends, life and love.
And now, I think back to that point when the expectations of parenting my beautiful little girl shifted…I realized that she would become her own person, she will figure out what it is that she really liked, and she would make decisions for herself that I would ultimately back up because I know that it is part of my job to be her biggest cheerleader.
I realized that it wasn’t just my job to teach her, shape her values, and guide her in understanding what was right and wrong. In fact, I realized that she had been teaching me all along, without her even knowing it. I have learned from her quiet way of problem solving, her strength and resolve in difficult situations, her creativity that surpasses anything I could ever imagine for myself and her kindness. Oh, how I have learned from her kindness…
Nino and I may have been ready for parenting back then simply because we were ready for a baby to love and cherish and care for…but I know that I can speak for both of us when I say we were not aware of just how much parenting would change us…how much more conservative we would become, how much more tender we would learn to be, and how much more grateful we would be as each year passed and we watch our cute little monchichi grow into a strong, graceful, intuitive, intelligent young lady.
Happy Birthday Big Girl. Even if you are fifteen already…you know you will always be my baby.
Phenomenal Mama says
No doubt, Gia is so beautiful inside and out because she took after you, Mish!
Grabe your Alice In Wonderland party! Super bongga, Mish! Pa-adopt na lang. Hahaha! But seriously, your family lucky to have you!
Happy birthday, Ate Gia!
MIsh, I love how her face never changed! So beautiful ever since she was little. 🙂
I was looking for a picture of her when she was even smaller…she had a full head of hair and really looked like a monchichi! Do you remember those little stuffed monkeys? Or was that before your time?
Hahaha I know what those are! Ang cute!
B'ley | Blogalag says
Such a wonderful story! That Mad Hatter’s Party set up was phenomenal! Even her costume was awesome! Please extend my birthday greeting to lovely Gia. 🙂
Thanks B’ley for stopping by!
Will surely show Gia all her birthday greetings 🙂
I’d like to get in the kitchen with you! Should we plan something where we can cook together? I still have yet to explore the other recipes on your blog!!
Sugar and Spice says
Awwwww this is soooo sweet Mish!! <3 I had a lump in my throat as I was reading this! You are such a good mom. And Gia, she is SUCH a good & responsible Ate. You must be one proud mommah! Happy birthday Gia! May you realize all your dreams. :-*
Gia and I love you and your daughters so much. We love how sweet you are to each other and you inspire us to be sweeter to one another too!
Looking forward to some Momma and Daughter time together soon 😉
Hermelina D. Ressa says
A really wonderful and touching article on how a mother accepted her first baby, on how much she has shown her love to her first child from birth to 15 years. Indeed, you are good Mom to your four kids! More years to come Michelle and I have no doubt in my mind that are a great Mom! Always there for your kids, caring, loving, attentive and supportive! So happy that we have raised a wonderful person, daughter, wife and mother! And, a friend! We love you and we know that God will be with you in every undertaking you handle! We are so proud of you!
Aw. Thanks Mom.
I love you very much.
I had the best example of how to be a good mother in you.
Happy birthday to your sweet daughter! 🙂
Thank you Calie 🙂
Georgina Arrieta-Ruetenik says
Michelle, this is Gina Arrieta (Georgina Arrieta-Ruetenik). Growing up in Toms River with your sister, Maria, I remember you fondly as a little girl. It’s amazing to read your blog and realize that each of us, despite our age difference, is the parent of a 15 year old. My son, Ken, will be 15 in a few days. Thank you for the gift of this post. It made me nostalgic about my “little boy” and brought happy tears to my eyes. May you be blessed with many more happy memories to share with your beautiful daughter and your other 3 children. The next time you see your sister, when she returns from her travels, please give her a big hug for me and wish her a happy (51st!) birthday in October – officially in her 50’s. Best regards to your wonderful parents and other siblings, too. Sincerely, Gina
Thank you for stopping by. I do remember you and many of Maria’s high school friends. I’m sure I was the little girl who was getting in the way while you “teenagers” were hanging out and doing your thing. Fifteen is such a wonderful age…I’m thankful that Gia still doesn’t mind hanging out with me, and I enjoy the time we have alone. She is old enough now to do fun girly things with her Mom, and even more domesticated things in the house. Either way, I know when she is older and has her own things to tend to, I will miss it. (teenage tantrums and all…) I will hug Maria tight for you. Promise. P.S. One of my nicknames for Gianina is Gigi 🙂