My daughter, my Sadie (Sadaroo, as she’s sometimes known as affectionately around here) is going to be double digits this month. TEN.
I can hardly believe it.
My baby, my first real-life-honest-to-goodness-miracle, the sweet little blessing from God who gave me the enormous gift of being a mom – TEN.
It seems like yesterday that my husband and I were speeding down the highway toward the hospital in North Carolina on a bright, cool March morning, talking about how when we next traveled that road the entire world would be forever changed.
And now, a decade later, here we are. I’ve been a mommy for ten years. It’s been many things – days of amazing amazement and other days of awful awfulness. It’s been a roller-coaster of joy and fear and breathlessness and bittersweet, heart-wrenching beauty.
That chubby-cheeked baby girl is now a long, lanky, smart, kind-hearted, precious, spunky, amazing girl. She has a creative spirit, a great belly laugh, a thirst for knowledge, and the cutest little nose-crinkling, eye-scrunching grin ever. My, how she has grown.
And I think I’ve been growing up right along with her.
Being a mom has done crazy things to me. I’m simultaneously the most selfish and the most unselfish person in the world. I’m terrified in some ways, yet in other ways I’m stronger than I’ve ever been. Before Sadie, I didn’t know how deeply I could feel or how much I could love or how much I could handle. I had no idea what it was to love sacrificially.
I’ve worried myself into oblivion. I’ve learned that sometimes, the only thing I can do is pray – and I’ve prayed more in the past ten years than in the other 27 years of my life combined. I pray for help, for patience, for her safety, for her healing, for her future, for her feelings, for her heart and her decisions and her happiness and her relationships.
And I’ve wasted time that I could’ve spent with her. When I think about this, I get a lump in my throat and have a bit of a mini-panic attack. She’s TEN. How much time do I have left with her now? 8 more years at home? 8 more years of her in her fuzzy robe, reading on her top bunk? 8 more years of “Coming, Mom!” and “Got it!” and “Have you seen my Snoopy?” and “How do ya catch a candy cane” songs? How many times have I gone to tuck her in and she’s already asleep so I’ve missed out on holding her hand to say prayers or to sing her special bedtime song?
She is so wonderful. But sometimes I wonder, how present am I really in her life?
I have so many doubts and fears about doing the right things for her and teaching her all she needs to know. I want for her to be able to make a living when she grows up, but I’m more concerned that she has a LIFE. That she’s HAPPY. Have I been training her for that for the past ten years? For happiness? I’m not sure – I’ve never been too good at it myself, honestly. Every day, I struggle with myself. I want to see her through the eyes of my heart instead of with my controlling, micro-managing brain. I can’t expect her to be perfect. I’m certainly not. Will perfect handwriting on that homeschool assignment really make her a better person? Will a spotless bedroom and perfectly folded clothes help her to one day be HAPPY?
I have to remember that every step she takes away from me is a step toward the life that God has planned for her. I have to remember to hold her hand, yet not hold her back.
For me, it’s a difficult (and emotional) distinction to make.
I admit it – I don’t want to let her go. I scrapbook because I have to hold on to how she was! I write because I don’t want to forget how she is right this minute. I want to be able to recall exactly how my life has been with this little person. My (not so) little girl.
My Sadie. My love. My blessing. My dancing, twirling, leaping, butterfly-chasing, sunbeam of a child.
I’ve loved you for ten years (plus all of the nine months before we met – and maybe even before that, back when you were just a someday-dream in my heart.)
So much about you (and me) has changed since that life-altering, purpose-giving, direction-changing day all those years ago. And one thing is sure: things are just going to keep on changing. For both of us.
But my beautiful, wonderful, first child – you can be certain that one thing never will: my love for you.