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sunday 07.02.2000
growing up

I remember when i first held her. this tiny little girl that was mine, wide awake and interested in the world. we were so lucky to have her. she was breach and the doctor gave us the option of a natural birth, but we decided on a c-section. turned out to be the best thing we had done. her cord was wrapped around her throat and a natural birth probably would have killed her. when i left the hospital holding my tiny precious bundle, i heard the another doctor in another room trying to tell a weeping woman what had gone wrong and what was wrong with their child. my heart went out to that mysterious woman, even as i felt so relieved that my child was ok. she had ten fingers, ten toes and we bonded from the first moment we laid eyes on each other.

she was always a bright, wide awake, happy baby. visitors came over and she just had to see them. and she was an easy baby. she started sleeping through the night at 3 months, and had one of the happiest dispositions you could ever wish for in your child. by 18 months i knew she was a morning person, heralded by her waking me at 6 am with her bright sunshiny smile and asking for breakfast. we had our first disagreement right around 24 months. 2 hours later i had established who was boss and we didn't have another problem for over a year.

i put her in school late. long story that one, suffice it to say i wanted to home school and grandma didn't agree. when grandma got her chance the kids went to public school. she had quite a shaky start, being pushed through two grades in less than a year, but she has since managed to find her footing and is doing wonderfully. she hates math, but loves anything to do with reading and writing. now she aces almost everything, b's in her sciences, her weakest point is mathematical procedures. but i am proud of her and her grades.

she's not always a resilient child. my divorce from her father shook her confidence and dimmed her brightness a bit. i worry about that. but she sees her dad when she's able (every week), and seems to have a good relationship with him. she's waking up to the realities of how one grandmother treats people and how the other is not well. i wish she didn't have too. she deserves a warm, loving, healthy family. if only to bring the sunshine back as completely as before. some of the easy-goingness is gone too. she panics when things must be done and aren't done NOW. wonder where she got that from...or more accurately who. i thank my lucky stars she's still affectionate. i know the hugs will be gone far too soon.

she's not ready to grow up. i'm not ready for her to grow up. but it is happening whether we want it or not. unlike her sister (who started to notice these things when she was 7), she is just starting to discover boys. she's both embarrassed and depressed. her first crush isn't crushing back, but a boy at church held her hand. it's a scary age for her AND me.

what made me think about all this? a poem. i never knew my daughter had such talent. i mean, i know she is talented. like her mother, she reads, draws and writes all the time. but that poem does not sound like a 13 year old. it is strong, powerful, deep. all the things my poetry wasn't at her age. she has already realized, however subconsciously, that writing must come from the heart.

it has made me realize that my time left as mom is limited. she's growing up. i miss the baby, but the girl before me is so incredible. oh, we have our problems and she is far from perfect. but she is still an incredible girl, weathering the storms in her life with more maturity than many adults i know. if she is wondering who she is, she hasn't expressed it yet. she is learning to stand her ground, learning when to step back. and i am watching it all in awe. this is MY child. through all the mistakes i make as a parent, she's coming out ok.

now we have the hardest years ahead of us, so they say. i can only hope these next years, as we move from dependence to independence, that she will make it through with the style and strength she has shown in the past. but for the moment, i am going to enjoy this summer that's between childhood and adulthood. when i went to school i missed out on a lot for all my kids. now i have a chance to get to know them again. this summer is for her and i. there will be never be another like it again.

i love you my sunny sundae-girl.

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