You were so tiny, so frail; I feared you were on the verge of death. And you accepted me so readily when I made to carry you—that spoke volumes of the free-spirited person you are. Because I never wanted to answer questions from people with prying eyes, I had to wait till dusk to take you home.
Your first cry came when I wanted to remove your soiled dress; it was so tattered, and had clung to your skin. As I peeled the cloth off, your little whimper touched my soul; I felt tears cascade down my cheeks. Handling you like the precious egg you’re, I bathed you.
When I gave you food, you wolfed it down so fast that I was delighted and angry—angry at the people who had not taken good care of you. Then you suddenly said “Mmo!” I was bemused, and it took me two full minutes to understand that you meant ‘mmiri’, which means ‘water’.
In the middle of the night I woke up when I heard you cry. Being my first time with a child, I couldn’t tell what was wrong with you till I perceived the odour coming from your little bum; smiling at myself, I changed your diaper. That was when you gave me your first smile. Though it was feeble, it took my breath away; it was a joy to remember. At that moment, I knew that I would have a new life because of you; you have brought the much needed hope to my life.
When I woke up in the morning, I saw your lovely face. It was a still a little bit pale, but I also saw love in your eyes. I took you to the hospital for treatments, and those heartless nurses sent me to the waiting room, as they pierced you with needles. I kept reminding myself that it was for your own good, but it still tore at my heart to see you so helpless. It was then that I vowed to myself (and to you too) that no one was going to ever hurt you; no one was ever going to matter like you.
And then, in a flash, you turned ten, then twenty. I look at you and do not see the passage of time; I still see my little baby of Wednesday night. Oh baby! I’ll try and respect the fact that you’re older now, but you must understand that to me, you’ll always be my little girl. I may not be able to carry you in my arms anymore, but I’ll always carry you in my heart.