17 years ago I became a Mom.
There under the glare of fluorescent lights, wearing a mask to be safe from SARS, my doctor announced “Congratulations, it’s a girl!”.
And I become a mother.
No manual, no instructions, no test run… I was handed a petite little pink skinned princess and was told she was mine for keeps.
The pregnancy kicks, the heartburn, the sciatica, and sore back did not prepare me.
I never knew that breastfeeding was not going to be as natural as birthing that little girl.
That I would not feel an immense amount of love and affection for the child I just carried for 9 months.
I mean I loved her, but wasn’t in love.
It was 17 years ago this day, I began the most enduring journey of my life. The most trying and rewarding era.
And no one would be able to convince me 17 years ago that the little girl I was unable to hold, would become the person I can never get enough of.
She’s my buddy. My confidante. My person.
She’s the one I plan with. She’s the one I vent to. And she’s the one who gets my tone and face instinctively.
(She needs to teach her dad a thing or two)
She has watched me battle illnesses and demons. And birth 5 other children. She’s seen it all.
And here we are 17 years later, the summer before her senior year at high school begins, wondering what will come next.
Is this the beginning to the end of my girl’s dependence on me? Her need to ask me questions on hairstyles and beauty? Her joy of staying up watching a chick-flick with me? Her love of having our alone time at a coffee shop laughing at mundane things?
17 years and here we are thinking she’s our baby still, but a baby no more.
I can see how she is slowly snipping away one string at a time… from me. And she needs to. She needs to make her own life altering decisions like college choices, majors/minors, and career paths.
But while she’s out there doing her thing, creating imprints in the sand on her journey ahead, I am reflecting back on the framed handprint painting she once gave me in preschool.
I am thinking how I counted the days for her to be big enough to start school. And now here I am reluctantly marking down the days to when she no longer needs me to sign her forms and permission slips.
It crawls at first, and then it begins to pace faster and further and then before you know it, there’s a young woman smiling back at you and waving goodbye as she drives away not needing you to give her directions anymore.
It was only 17 years ago.