At the risk of sounding mushy, I’m going to tell you that 14 years ago tonight, almost to the very moment of this writing, I became a mother. That moment, at the sound of her first cry, on what was a snowy night in March, was so much more than the realization of a lifelong dream. It was EVERY dream. Practically the only thing I ever wanted in my whole life. And there she was, pink-faced and perturbed that we disturbed her napping with the business of being born. The enormity of the moment thankfully didn’t hit me just then, but eventually it did… that I would be completely and utterly responsible for the well-being of someone other than myself. That not only would I have to keep her fed and warm and clean and dry, but that also I would have to teach her things, and help her find her way through this life that is becoming more and more complicated.
Would I be up to the challenge? To help this little, wriggling girl know the difference between right and wrong, and to help her make good choices? Would I be able to share my knowledge with her without passing on the guilt of my own mistakes?
Would I forget to be so serious all the time, and teach her how to laugh? Would I teach her that the most wonderful places in the world are the ones you conjure up in your imagination? Would I show her how to be curious without being afraid?
Fourteen years ago, as all these things were crossing my mind, I could not imagine being here. Fourteen years on, with a daughter who now towers far above my head, but has the shyness of a child. One who is a giggling schoolgirl and an old soul all at once. We are a work in progress, she and I, and only time will tell me if I have done well. I think so, though, and so far I am very proud that of all the daughters in the world, God gave me this one. I am truly lucky.
Happy birthday, sweet girl. I love you.