birthday

by humanmama on June 1, 2012

My oldest is six today. And she’s not up, since she’s a night owl and most definitely not a morning person. But I am up, and thinking of her short life, and how far we’ve all come since she was born.

happy birthday, baby!

It’s humbling to think of what Carpenter and I thought “having children” was all about. I worked with children my whole life, from pushing the neighborhood kids on the swing set to babysitting jobs after school every day at age 12, I loved and cared for children. I worked at day-cares, at therapeutic nursery centers with abused children, and at schools. I worked with children diagnosed with everything from Autism to Schizophrenia, and many things in between. But still, when I had my first baby, I was totally, just completely, unprepared for the change to my life.

Suddenly we were raising another human being. It was very clear to me, right from the beginning, that our lives were changing. Carpenter, being a man (sorry babe), took longer to see how incredibly different out lives were becoming. Suddenly we couldn’t just run out for milk, or for anything. Suddenly there was someone to take to Doctor’s visits, to read to, to play music for. Suddenly we had this sense of enormous responsibility, coupled with a sense of enormous power–we checked when she slept to see if she was breathing. We played good music for her so she would grow up to like Bob Marley and hopefully not Brittany Spears.

age 3, three years ago already

Then, as she grew, we realized how little was in our hands. Although we checked on her every night faithfully, who was to say we could control her breath, her little chest moving up and down in the night? We slowly realized that we could not.  It has a tendency to drive you insane, if you let it, or just awe you with the actually very tiny drop of influence that we really have in this world. Although we could protect her from quilts and blankets by putting her to sleep in a “sleep sack,” could we do anything about the edge of the coffee table as she began walking? Or the concrete sidewalk? Or the pinchy area of the front door? Or the world? And every year, that sense of amazing love and joy is followed by the sense that we are only loaning her in this world, both our children–all our children–and that we have to protect and enjoy them as much as we can every day.

She is a talented gymnast. She learned to write and read this year, and is getting better every day at sounding out words and sentences. She knows what an exclamation point is and when to use it. She doesn’t show much affection, preferring to make a picture that says “I LOVE YOU MOM” to actually sitting on the couch and cuddling, but she is still loving and kind. She is hard to read all the time, but I usually know the difference between her wanting a break from the family and needing some serious comforting. She loves Bob Marley. And some Brittany Spears.

I know that the next six, and twelve, and twenty-four years will be more of me giving her love and more of her pulling away to find her place in this world. And that’s okay. As long as she knows where home is. Because although she rocked my world as an infant, she now completes it and this family, and I’m lucky to have her. I’m lucky to be her mom.

Happy birthday, my baby, my oldest, and my love.

Post to Twitter

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

heather June 1, 2012 at 9:21 am

She is so lucky to have a mama like you!!

Reply

Previous post:

Next post: