In the Blink of an Eye

Twenty years ago today, this darling child was born.

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And my life, and my heart, would never be the same. We already had a strong bond after months of my talking to her like she was already with me (because really, she was) and her responding in various ways, often with eye-watering kicks to the bladder or undeniable head rolls (she was breech).

She was my first pregnancy and everything was new and wondrous. I remember well when I first felt the little butterflies and marveled that this was a little person within me, first making her presence known.

I have never gotten over being awestruck when any of my babies would punch or push out on my belly and make a bit of themselves momentarily visible to the outside world – and to me. It’s a feeling I have never been able to adequately put into words.

When the day finally arrived when I had the privilege of meeting her at long last, the moment they put her into my arms, I was forever lost. My heart would never again be safe or enclosed within my own body. It is so very true what they say about a mother’s heart forever walking around outside her body. A huge piece of mine currently resides 6 long hours away.

20141118_213350-1This little girl of mine has been such a gift. She was such an intelligent child, sweet, stubborn, so caring, compassionate, high in empathy. For awhile it was just the two of us and we did everything together. We cleaned, we baked, we played, we sat under a tree on a blanket in the summer and read books together, or looked up into the tree, examined the grass, looked at bugs, explored the everyday things around us that hold such fascination for a child as they discover everything for the very first time.

20141118_214834My baby girl grew and became a big sister, and oh what a protective big sister she was. I remember when my oldest son was born and we first went to the grocery store with the two of them. My shy little girl would speak right up to complete strangers if they got anywhere near our cart and say, “This is my baby brother. You can look, but DON’T TOUCH.” My little introvert was as fiercely protective of her loved ones as her mama.

20141118_213943I’ve watched my girl dance. I’ve watched her “nurse” her baby dolls while I nursed her brother. I have forever engraved on my heart the memory of a little girl in a sweater skirt outfit twirling, long golden hair flying, pretending to be a figure skater like we watched on TV, exclaiming, “Look at me, Mommy! I”m skating! I’m skating!”

There have been bumps and bruises, messed up knees and ankles, and bike wipeouts. There have been cousins and best friends. There have been friends who stopped being friends and soul bruises.

My girl has known heartaches and so many losses much, much too young – an elementary teacher, a childhood friend, family members, more friends. I think it has made her even higher in empathy and even more compassionate, if that’s possible.

20141118_181743-1There were dances and that one boy. THE boy. There was graduation and honors and scholarships. There was the letting go and leaving her 6 hours away at college while I felt like my heart was being ripped out of my chest, but I had to let her spread her wings, because I know this girl has flying to do.

Then there was an engagement. Now there is studying, exams, a roommate (we couldn’t have asked for a better one), college pals. A wedding to plan. Holiday time split with THE boy (and again we couldn’t have asked for a better one) and his family. (I joke about who has custody of her when.)

As I write this, I have tears flooding my eyes and spilling down my cheeks, but these are not sad tears. I miss her so, but these are tears of joy, of a mother’s heart so overflowing with love and gratitude that I have had these 20 years, even though they have passed in a blink; and pride, so much pride.

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I am so proud of the young woman she has become. Her work ethic is impressive. She pushes herself hard to learn, to do well, to make the most of her schooling. She has goals and is determined to achieve them. She is a dedicated musician. She has a fabulous sense of self, knows who she is, and stands firm in what she believes in and doesn’t compromise herself . She has the biggest heart of anyone I know and no matter how many times she’s been hurt, she never lets it stop her from caring about people. She goes out of her way to help others. She is a friend anyone would be so lucky to have.

This girl, this young woman, she is one who can make me laugh like no other, and one of my favorite things in life is our episodes of crazy, gasping, can’t breathe, doubled over, tears rolling, snorting, helpless laughing fits we have when we’re together. It is THE. BEST. 

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This child, my firstborn, my baby girl, is no longer a child. She is a grown woman, today officially no longer a teenager. She is the light of my life. She is my most trusted confidant, and I am so incredibly blessed to now call her my best friend. I learn from her. I admire the woman she is, and the woman she is making herself into.

My baby girl isn’t a baby anymore and while there are moments it is really  hard to wrap my head around that, and certainly there are twinges of missing that adorable little girl who forever changed my world and my heart, I am ever so grateful to have the tremendous privilege of having watched her journey from baby to child to beautiful young woman, and I hope to have the great fortune of continuing to witness her transformation in the years to come as she becomes a college graduate, an engineer, a wife, a mother, and so much more.

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Happy Birthday, Baby Girl! I cherish you. I love you – to the moon and back! ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

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“Thirty-Two Plus a Few, Thirty-Four Plus some More”

Do I enjoy growing old or do I fight against it?

Yes.

There are things to dislike about growing old.

Duh. Of course there are things to dislike about growing old. The list is long! There are the dreaded wrinkles and sags. Our bodies begin to creak and groan. Things begin to grow in weird places. Hormones can get whacky. We don’t recover as quickly as we used to or have the same amount of energy we once did. We have far more responsibilities than we did in our younger years. Some days we feel old and tired.

I’d like to say I proudly declare my age and embrace it, but I really don’t share it. People seem to think I look younger than I am, and I rarely feel the need to disabuse them of that notion, I think in large part because my mother ingrained in me when I was younger regarding a woman’s age that “a lady never tells and a gentleman never asks.” She had a thing about no one knowing her age, and for a very long time I really didn’t know how old she was. It might have had something to do with the fact that whenever one of us kids would ask her how old she was, her answer was always, “32 plus a few” and a few years later, “34 plus some more.”

But wait, there’s more!