I completed my second decade of motherhood today.
Thing 1 is twenty, but not until 7:21 this evening to be precise. This is the first year I will not be with her on the anniversary of her birth, I thought it would make me feel more sad, but I guess I’m growing too, accepting that she is a pseudo-adult and her birthdays are no longer about her family of origin, but the new family she is beginning to create for herself with friends and fiancee. (That word still gives me pause.)
I was up very late editing the book and slept until 9:00 waking in a momentary panic that I hadn’t yet called her. In addition to not being with her on this day, this year marks the first time I was not the first person to tell her, Happy Birthday. That fell to N this year, as I suspect it will for years to come.
It doesn’t matter though, for she will always be my baby…my very first girl, the one who was given to me to challenge me to be the best possible me. She and I have had some dark times, but the light was always lit just waiting for it’s time to shine again.
N entered her into a contest in which she won tickets to a bridal show in Savannah…so that is how she’ll spend her 20th birthday…how precious, and how appropriate for her.
My sweet girl is no longer stubbornly fighting her Aunt Sundance and me to wear too small shoes. She is no longer swimming in the pool when the water is 50 degrees simply so she could be the first one in and the last one out at the start and close of our pool season. She is no longer that lost girl trying to understand what to make of her world when I changed it by leaving her dad. She is no longer the girl who hurt herself and came to me desperately begging for help. She’s not even the girl we dropped off at college with her most precious lovey, the little pink doll, Emily who had seen her through all her scariest moments.
She is a woman, one who is beginning to make a real plan for her life, to go back to school and study something she is passionate about, to find a job and make a home, and plan a wedding. She is able to open up and be honest with me about who she is and what she thinks and feels.
She sparkles once again, the way she did when she was small.
Sometimes I worry that she is too jaded, so quick to assess and pass judgment because it can come across as unkind…she’s going to have to learn to temper this, perhaps time and maturity will aid in that. I believe she feels safe enough to be who she really thinks she is, even if she’s a bit brash because I trusted her to make her own opinions and express her creativity…it is very hard to have a strong mother, I suspect she felt she had to fight to be heard instead of trusting in me to hear. Perhaps that is why she is quick to express her opinion without thought of how it might make those around her feel.
She is so bright, and interested in things that boggle my mind, she loves science and math, even though she wasn’t terribly successful in those courses. She is truly an artist who has yet to find her medium.
She has made me so proud, not simply because I’m her mom, but because I know her. Yes, I raised her, I did my best to give her a solid foundation upon which to build her life, but I am savvy enough to know that she has impacted her own character and destiny, and I can honestly say, I am proud to be her mom and proud to know her as a person.
Today is bittersweet for me, that little girl is still inside the interesting woman she’s become, but those times are gone, nothing but nuggets of precious memory, old photographs and an indelible imprint upon my heart.
I accomplished and survived her.
My love for her is knows no bounds.
I am still her “Mommy” but I am also something new.