I pull up to the daycare and park my car. I lean over to the passenger seat and grab my purse and my phone. I get out of the car and start to head to the door.
At the entrance, I punch in our special key code and the red light turns to a green light and the door unlocks. I tug on the handle and pull the door open and let myself in.
My ears immediately hear the sounds of laughter playing. My nose inhales the sent of baby powder and diaper cream and leftover snacks.
I peer into the "First Steps" room and find it empty. I keep walking and head towards the toddler playground.
I see her before she sees me. Her cheeks are red from playing and her hair is tousled from all the activity. Once she was on the swings. Another time she was on the slide. Sometimes she is in the grass or by the fence.
Someone always says, "Miranda, look who's here!"
She always looks.
Her face lights up and she opens her arms and runs to me.
I shove my phone in my pocket and drop my purse and run to pick her up.
She snuggles into my arms. It is the happiest minute of my day. I am warm from the inside out.
I love being a mom. I love being Miranda's mom.
I never really knew that I was going to be a mom. I know I had dolls growing up but I don't remember thinking that they were my "babies". Some people are born to be parents. I am not sure that I was. But now that I am, I can't imagine my life any other way.
Recently, someone asked me (again) if Miranda was the only child we had. It was almost too easy to say yes. I long since stopped telling strangers my life story. I do not need to make them sad or embarrassed. But it still makes me sad. She doesn't make me sad, but her absence does.
You never know what is going to happen from one day to the next. I never know what to expect ever since the unexpected happened. I am reminded every day to stop and take it all in - for you never know what might happen next. I am slowly coming to terms with that.
I try to cherish the moments that could easily be taken for granted.
We walk to the car and head home. It's almost dinner time and bath time. Let's be on our way. Daddy is waiting for us.