you’ll know her when you see her

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Bear with me.

But when I was pregnant with Alice, there was a moment – I’ll keep the details between the two of us – that seemed to tell me just who she was and would be.

“Oh, that’s who you are,” I can remember thinking. Not that I have her all figured out. Far from it. But everything I have learned about her since then makes perfect sense to me in light of that first, fluttery moment.

I waited for another flash of prenatal recognition, this time between my second daughter and me, but it didn’t happen. She played things close to the vest. For 39 weeks, she was beloved, but unknown.

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It took us that long to settle on a name. A month or so before she was born, we thought we had one. We shook on it even. But, in the end, it wasn’t right, and so driving to the hospital, David, half-jokingly, looked to road signs for inspiration.

“Mariposa.”

“Nope.”

“Manteca.”

“You know what that means, right?”

“Yes. I’m kidding.”

“We can’t name our kid after something we saw on Highway 99.”

“Merced.”

“No. I could like Mercedes, though.”

“No.”

(Alice, meanwhile, insisted from the start – without hesitation or explanation – that the baby would be called “Daisy.”)

We checked in. Nurse after nurse asked what we were going to name her. We said we didn’t know yet.

“Do most people know by now?”

Most people know. “But sometimes,” one nurse told me, “you just don’t know until you see her.”

When it was almost time, I tried making small talk with David to ease my nerves. “So, what’s that lunch place you guys are always talking about?”

He wrinkled his eyebrows and shook his head, and before he could answer, I heard the doctor say, “This baby is breech.”

I heard a nurse say, “Her eyes are wide open.”

And I held my breath until I heard her cry.

Then she cried, and I thought, “Thank you, thank you, thank you.”

She’s here. I’m here. We’re here.

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We gave our child a name that means “solitude.” It is a name that calls back to her sister’s name – in a quiet way that connects, but does not tether them. It is a name too big for someone so small and too solemn for someone so sweet.

But it is also a name like a well, and I hope that what she draws from it is strength and serenity.

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Welcome, Soledad Daisy.

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One thought on “you’ll know her when you see her

  1. So Beautiful!!!!! Beautiful sisters!!!! Nana and I had so much fun today looking at clothes and goodies for the two of them!!!! Congratulations!

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