The other day it occurred to me that I’m going to have share this daughter of mine.

I can’t tell you how this rocked my world. For months now, it’s been me and her. Everyone can talk about her, discuss her, plot how they will stake their own claim to her, but I’ve always somehow taken solace that for the moment I’m the first and final line of defense when it comes to my girl and the rest of the world.

And really? When I use the word “defense,” it pretty much begins and ends at who gets to hold her when she’s born, because I almost can’t envision that anyone but me or her father will ever do that, let alone anything more. And my brain? Oh my sticky, weird little brain thinks about what a privilege it’ll be for the rest of the world to be even near her, so the world better not assume that just because she’s here on this planet that they automatically get access to her because boy howdy they do not.

Dear Jesus and his mother Mary, please do not let me ruin her spirit with my weird-ass, territorial, control-freak bullshit or I’ll have totally missed the point, won’t I have?

It’s me she kicks. It’s in my body that she’s navigating the most basic of movements. I’m the one who feels her hiccuping like a sailor on leave. Or, more apt, me at 23 after a long night in Lincoln Park. It’s me and her together when the hormones her development require send me reeling with nausea (again) and headaches (again) and a drastic inability to turn over in bed without an exhaustive sigh.

I’ve apologized to her more times than I count for the stress I’ve no doubt inflicted upon her already. “Mama’s job can be a little nutty,” I tell her. “Also? Mama is a little intense and obsessive. We’ll figure out how to make this work.” I cry when I think about the possibility that she’ll be just like me, and how I wish there was a way already I could make that up to her.

Oh, little girl, there is a lot about your Mama that’s pretty great. But dear God it would not kill me to let a dish sit dirty in the sink or maybe wear pants out of the house that couldn’t also double as pajamas. Then there’s that whole insanely catty and mean-temperedness…

For as ready as I am to not be pregnant anymore, I am not eager to share this girl of mine with a world where someone won’t let her just be who she is. Who won’t (understandably) appreciate her like I (think) do. Who might do her harm or make her sad. Who might just totally suck.

Everyone is suspect until proven otherwise.

For now I’m going to hold on to the next two months, and the uncomfortableness and the ache and pain and inability to let a cupcake on my desk rest for more than 30 seconds before wolfing it down my gullet. Because this is it for this phase for me and her. We’ll be on to other things come Spring.

And soon enough she’ll spend perfectly good money on a therapist to sort out the ways in which I will most certainly have fucked her up in one way or another, because honestly that’s just how it goes. Hopefully I’ll have done a good enough of a job that despite all of the reasons for which she will scream “I hate you!” at me, by the time she is my age she will count me among her friends and like me in spite of it all.

Especially for the part where I made her get a job of some sort at age 14 because that’s what my father made me do, that’s why.

So kick away, little sister. Be the culprit for all of the hellacious sounds and smells that come from my body. Go ahead and send my pancreas packing for parts unknown, or at least temporarily be cuddled up next to my spleen. You’re welcome to grow at such a pace that I look down and see your tiny little hand from underneath my skin, going in for a high-five, or perhaps to thoroughly freak out the dog. Despite my general discomfort with crying, I’m happy to be reduced to a blubbering cliche with every piece of media to which I am exposed.

You are worth every second. Every last second.

Thanks to ALL of you for your emails and comments and kind words about my last post. I can’t tell you how much it’s meant to me.