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My Laurelia is a year old today.

She has her father’s eyes – with a decidedly bluish tint to the green – and his auburn hair.  And his smile, that makes those eyes twinkle like stars.  Others say they can see me in her as well, but I only see every charming part of Bareris.  Wait, I take that back – she has my stubbornness, along with his.  Gods help us all.

Two years ago I would have scoffed at the idea of becoming a mother.  Silly nonsense, meant for other people.  Bareris changed my mind on the matter, of course… and whatever else ever happens between us, I shall always be grateful to him for that.  Our daughter is an amazing creation; she is the single best – perhaps the only truly good thing I have been a part of in my entire life.  She delights me, she surprises me, she humbles me.  I knew all along that she would be magnificent.  But I had no way to know how magnificent. How could I, how could anyone?  It is a mystery and miracle, truly it is.

I know I will not have her forever.  Such are the choices I’ve made.  She makes me want to be and do good!  But at the same time, she must be protected… and I only know one way to protect her, or anyone.  Someday Laurelia will be old enough to understand what it is her mother is and does, and she will be horrified and disgusted by it.  This is how I will know I have raised her right.  And I will watch her from afar as she goes on to do and be better than her mother, and my heart will be full and proud even if it aches.

Someday it will happen.  But today my little Lala is tiny, and sweet, and too innocent for such knowledge.  When I lift her up, her small arms wrap around my neck, and her little head rests on my shoulder, and I am terrified by the simple trust that she puts in me. 

I almost lost her before she was born.  The victim of one of my old crimes, buried, nearly forgotten, tracked me down with intent to exact revenge.  Rightful vengeance, I should note; I would have deserved anything he chose to do to me, for what I had done to him.  But she didn’t — she had done nothing, and yet when he found me… in that moment, as I lay paralyzed before him, and his eyes flashed as he spoke of hurting me as I had hurt him; as he drew his dagger along the outside of my stomach, and my baby kicked inside… I’ve never been so helpless, so terrified. 

I’ve never questioned why he let me go, lest doing so should somehow tempt Fate; remind the Powers That Be that I yet have a debt unpaid.  I’m still certain that it will come back to me someday — but as long as it comes back to me, and not my daughter, I will accept it with grace.  Should any threaten Laurelia….

She is very close to taking her first steps.  Once she does, there will be no holding her back.

Happy Birthday, little Lala.  The world lies before you.  And your mother is doing everything she can to prepare it for you.