Before I had Fiona, or even the idea of Fiona, I noticed that some moms held their babies in slings. It struck me as so beautiful and powerful. These mothers seemed confident and capable, going about their lives with their babies held close. I knew that one day, I wanted to hold my baby like that.
For the first months of Fiona's life, she cried and cried, for hours and hours, day after day. I wore her in a sling for more hours than not. For reasons I don't expect to ever understand, some babies have a very hard time adjusting to this world. Fiona was one of those babies. She would bury her face in my chest and we would walk for miles. Aside from nursing, this was the only way to keep her from crying.
Slowly, she started lifting her head from my chest to look around. From the safety of her sling, she started noticing things around her. Over time, she got to know our routine. When she saw me take out the sling she would wiggle excitedly. Every morning we would walk to the coffee shop, walk along the water, stop by some local shops, and in the early days, she would fall asleep on our way back home. Now, She doesn't wait for me to initiate our morning walk. She just marches right over to me, with the baby carrier in hand, and says, "back!"
Everyday, Fiona and I explore the world together. I point things out to her, "Look, Fiona, boats!" and she points things out to me, "Bird!" We run into friends. She gives people high fives and waves goodbye. She insists we buy strawberries and once we've bought them, she reaches into my bag and tries to get them out.
I am aware that one day, instead of wearing Fiona on my back, she'll be walking next to me. And then one day, she'll want to explore the world on her own. I cherish every moment that right next to Mama is where she wants to be.
Me and my girl.