I know she came from me, but since that day she has so far surpassed me. I delight in her every detail, there is not a contour upon her face that does not steal my breath. The way she wrinkles her nose and sends her face sideways, the brush of her dark lower lashes against her pale skin beneath those impossibly blue eyes. Or the way she tilts her head to one side and gestures with her hands, watching from the corner of her eye and repositioning her arms for greater effect. She echoes Briar’s mannerisms as she tucks her chin into her neck to convey affection, and then Avery with her eyes and cheeks conspiring to make me laugh.

I catch myself with my eyes watering and my mouth wide in a gasp of delight as she intuits exactly what each person in a room needs to laugh. She has my number and whispers to me, “Oh, mama, I do love it when you read to me like this.” I ache thinking that on some level she knows that I crave more of her than can be given. This instinct she has to fill our time with more, placing her hand on mine as we read, resting her head on my leg as I cook, singing Rock a Bye Baby to me in the car and changing the word baby to mama and adding in my closer “And then I shall catch you ‘fore you fall,” destroys me. Swirls of guilt and gratitude, fear and worship overwhelm me. The excruciating kiss of releasing even as I desperately want to hold tighter.

She is the last little face I kiss at night and the first that I see when I wake. My sweet Fin.