A Letter to My Daughter on Her 24th Birthday

One of the more annoying things that happens to you when have a baby is the constant reminder to “enjoy it because it goes so quickly.”

It didn’t feel like it was going quickly when we had to put you in your swing in the middle of the night to get you to go to sleep, or when we had to record the vacuum to soothe your colic, or when I let you fall down the stairs.

But as is frequently the case, they were right.

It feels like yesterday when I would sit beside your crib and then your toddler bed saying your prayers and playing the mix tape Christy made for us. “She’s a Dancer” is forever etched in my mind.

It feels like yesterday when you and your sister got much too quiet for much too long, and we found you in your room, every square inch of it and you and your sister covered in baby powder.

And it feels like yesterday when I would worry all the time about your safety and your future and your happiness.

I don’t worry anymore.

You are more, much more, than I could ever have dreamed. You have a graduate degree and a job that (I know I’m biased) you do so well. You have a husband and a house and a whole bunch of sweet animals.

But those are not the reasons I no longer worry.

I know now how it turns out.

You are wise and smart and thoughtful and compassionate. You see people as they are, and you love them unconditionally. You surround yourself with good people, and you connect with the little ones we entrust to your care everyday.

Now I was lying just a little when I said I don’t worry anymore. I’ve come to accept that at 4 or 14 or 24, I’m still going to worry about you. You and your sister have my heart…and that will never change.  Your happiness means more to me than anything.

No wise words of wisdom in this week’s blog. Just a genuine wish that you see yourself as I see you and that you know how much you are loved.

Happy Birthday Beautiful Angel!

We are parents forever

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It’s wedding week.  The details are finalized; the clothes are ironed; the vows are ready. We have moved beyond the planning phase to working the plan. From this point, our job is just to enjoy the experience and savor the moment.  In a week, my daughter will be married.

I am excited, and I am proud.  I am confident in the love she shares with her fiancé, and I know they are ready and willing to put in the effort and steadfast attention required to make a marriage work.  I am overjoyed.

And I am devastated.

She was a child just yesterday, her never-ending smile lighting up every room she was in.  It was just yesterday she was performing concerts for us on her bed, staging elaborate shows on our make-shift stage, and drawing with sidewalk chalk in the driveway.  (Oh wait, she and her sister still do that!).

And she will be that child to me, in many ways, forever.

I know some things now that I did not know even a year ago.  Our children are our children forever.  I know now that all those moments in the teens years when I thought that all we had to do was get to 18…19…21 and our jobs would be done were a fallacy.  Our job is never done.

We are parents forever.

I know now how my parents feel when a day passes and they don’t talk to me.  I know now the fear and anxiousness my parents feel every time I tackle a new challenge.  I know now the pride and joy my parents feel every time I am successful in something, even now. I underestimated  the fact that those emotions never, ever, ever change.

We are parents forever.

I hope that I am a better daughter for knowing this.  Believe me, I have always known how lucky I was to be blessed with parents and step-parents and parents-in-law who support my family in countless ways.  I just have a more real appreciation now of the fact that while my daughter’s life is changing immeasurably, my feelings for her will never change.