I know you don’t like the mush. You prefer sarcasm to
But every now and then sentiment trumps sarcasm and it is not a bad thing.
Often I think back to when I was only a few weeks pregnant with you and had the chicken pox. I remember vividly the doctor sitting me down in his office. I was alone this visit. Your dad was at work, probably in a meeting. The doctor was so very serious, explaining to me that there was a significant risk that you would be born with physical or mental handicaps. Perhaps both. Him telling me that I did have the option, at this early stage, to terminate my pregnancy. Me telling him, “I am 19 years old and single. If I did not have an abortion because of that, I will NOT have one because of this.” He looked concerned. I am pretty sure he felt I was making a mistake. That I was too young to be a mother. Maybe he was worried about me, maybe he was worried about what the future would hold for you. I do not begrudge him informing me I had options. At least not anymore. I now understand it was his job. And he was not being pushy. He did not try to talk me into it. He did what he had to do, he did the right thing. And I did what I had to do and it was the best decision of my life.
Holding you in my arms that first time, seeing your perfect, squishy, little face, I knew I could never love another living thing as much as I loved you. In fact during my whole pregnancy with your brother, I was scared. I was positive I would not be able to love him! How could I share my love with another child? How was that even possible?? I obviously learned that it is an incredibly easy thing to do. The room in a mother’s heart does not get divided with each additional child. Her heart just grows to accommodate them. But this is not about your siblings. It is about you. Well, you and me.
We were incredibly lucky as first time parents. You started sleeping through the night at 6 weeks. Granted, we had to play Jimmy Buffett for you, but that was all it took and we were more than willing. You were never colicky, always so content. Even as you grew into a toddler, there was nothing you enjoyed more than playing alone with your little Disney figures, usually acquired through Happy Meals. I never knew exactly what was going on, but I could tell there was an intense storyline there. Your child’s imagination constantly working overtime.
You were always pleased to be where you were, doing what you were doing. Never bored. Never cranky. When we would go out, you were as happy as could be. Squealing with delight each time you saw an airplane or a water tower or a “Barbarians!” (Bob Evans)
As you grew you discovered coloring and drawing …and learned how to make a statement with finger painting. It did not take us long to realize that you were truly artistic. I know you look back at your old art work, roll your eyes and want to throw out the drawings. But to me, those are treasures. To see how your art has matured as you have grown is just awe inspiring. I love the stick figure family you drew when I was pregnant with your brother, making sure the mommy had a circle around her belly. I love each dragon and fairy and unicorn you created in your pre-teen years. And now your character designs and concept art floor me. You are so gifted. And I am so proud.
Not too long after you discovered art, you found reading. Starting off with children’s picture books. Working your way up to small chapter books, Animorphs and Goosebumps. When you were 7 or 8 years old I remember seeing the first Harry Potter book in your hands. My instant thought was “That is an awfully large book for such a young girl.” But I did not discourage you and you read it. And you just kept reading. You devoured the Children’s Bible and later shocked your CCD teacher with how much you already knew about what they were teaching you. And by the time you were 13 years old you were reading Goethe’s Faust and Dante’s Inferno and absorbing so much more than I realized was possible.
I always knew if I couldn’t find you drawing, I would find you reading or writing your own stories. Always being creative, always thinking, always absorbing.
In high school you found theater. A place where you could utilize your art skills, your intelligence, your snarkiness. You found a home away from home. And there were many times it seemed that it was your primary home, especially during tech week. You made some wonderful friends there. They became a family who made high school a positive experience for you. They also made it bearable for me. They were GOOD kids and as a parent I could not have asked for better friends for you. I know they weren’t all angels. But they were good. You blessed us with relatively angsty free teenage years. And for that, I am truly grateful.
Watching you grow these past 23 years has been a gift. Seeing you turn into a smart and talented and amazing woman has been so special. You are a wonderful adult and I cannot wait to see what the NEXT 23 years has in store for you. And I look forward to making more precious memories with the beautiful woman who made me a mom.