A Message to the One Who Changed Everything, On Her Sixth Birthday
This weekend we celebrated our oldest’s SIXTH birthday and like every parent on the planet, I just can’t believe that she’s grown so fast. The whole “the days are long, but the years are short” adage has never seemed more true. I was 30 when she was born, had graduated college from the school I had wanted to go to my whole life, was seven years into a pretty great career, and had lived in five different states and traveled to some pretty cool places in the world. I thought I had it all figured out.
Then, this little girl who was two days past her due date was “evicted” to avoid complications from gestational diabetes. She was a pistol from the day she was born. On her very first night on this earth, she coughed so hard that all that nasty, bloody, mucousy stuff that was still in her lungs flew across the room and stuck to the wall (ewww, I know!). We, as brand spanking new parents, only saw blood. We called for the nurse, “Our baby’s coughing up blood!” only to be told, “Oh, that’s normal! BUT, I’ve never seen it done with such force before!”. And that’s pretty much how the rest of this story goes.
She was about four weeks old when the colic set in. My husband had been required to travel out of state for six weeks for work and being that she was so young, we decided to all go together. Thank God we did, because I honestly don’t know if I would have survived that period all by myself; that tiny human being would've gotten the best of me. We were staying in a temporary apartment and I remember wanting to run to the car every time I went somewhere because I didn’t want the neighbors to see whose baby was making all that racket until 4am every.single.night. Nothing we did would help her. We tried different sleeping arrangements, different formulas, different ways of holding her, baths/steam, car rides, bouncers, swaddling, unswaddling, more clothes, less clothes, Tylenol, Gripe Water, gas drops, reflux meds, you name it….we tried it. Some things seemed to help a little, but nothing truly took that colic away but time...her time.
Fast forward six months or so and I vividly remember looking at her and thinking, “she just doesn’t seem like a seven-month-old baby!”. Then when she was 18 months, “she just doesn’t seem like an 18-month-old baby!”. And she still has never seemed her age, which has always made me a bit sad because she seems to be barreling her way through her own life as quickly and thunderously as possible. She has a force that is all her own. We have two other children and I’ve never looked at one of them and thought this same thing; they’ve always seemed like the babies they were…her, not so much.
Now, at six years old, she is challenging, but driven. She is “spirited”, but oh-so-joyful. She is frustratingly independent, but the first to make friends everywhere she goes. She is endlessly inquisitive, but also endlessly creative in how she shows you what she’s learned. She is my first child; the one who turned my world entirely upside down and I am so, so proud (and lucky!) to be her mom.
But...do you know this other saying?
What do you do if they were simply just born strong? How do you survive? Lord, grant me the patience, empathy, and fortitude to keep up with this one. I think she’s going to come out of the other side of it all just fine, but I may need some help. To sum this whole post up into one little blurb, I’d say, my birthday message to her pretty much goes something like this:
“Happy birthday, Big Girl…and cheers (with cupcakes, of course!) to the next twelve amazing years of your ‘growing up’ journey. I am so excited to see where your adventure leads.
But please, be kind to me.
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