My baby girl is 13 today. At exactly 1:21 p.m. EST, she came screaming into the world weighing 7 lbs. 6 oz. and was 21″ long. She was all arms and legs with a healthy head of dark hair. She was red, which the nurses assured me was fine. They took her from me right away and I was the last person in the room to get to hold her, nearly an hour after I had given birth to her. I was very scared because the enormity of being responsible for an entire human being, separate from myself, became instantly apparent. I also loved her fiercely and was completely astonished by the fact that I had completed such a herculean feat. It was, frankly, a surreal experience. The best part came in the dark of the night, when I was finally alone with her. Holding her little body against mine and studying every inch of her, amazed at how perfect and tiny she was, my heart just expanded and I fell completely, madly in love with my child.
Now she’s thirteen-years old and she’s still amazing. She has such a bright spirit and deep compassion in her soul. She’s artistic, has a great fashion sense and can see the bigger picture of things, when a lot of kids her age can’t. She goes into “K-land” where she’s wildly imaginative and creates great things. She struggles with math, just like her mama, and gets sad when things don’t go her way. But she has an amazing ability to bounce back and is very much her own person. When I had a daughter, everyone warned me about how terrible it would be to raise her, how difficult girls can be, how moody they are, but it hasn’t been like that with K, at all. She’s a good girl that doesn’t talk back to her mama, doesn’t want to participate in “girl drama”, has a best friend that’s a good girl, too, and is quite pleasant to be around. No, she’s not perfect and she may have rolled her eyes at me a time, or two, but I’m not perfect either and am sure it evens out. After all, she’s the first child I ever raised and I’m still working on it, so there are bound to be a few bumps in the road. But, as far as kids go, I sure am glad I got the one I did.
I’ve got to be honest, this thirteen thing is a bit hard. I’ve cried today and, while I feel a bit silly, I can’t help it. I miss the smallness of my baby sometimes and the pain of it just stabs me through the heart. I was talking with my father-in-law about having her thirteen years ago today and he said “different time, different pain”. How true is that? I’ve found out in my first thirteen years of being a mother that a lot of pain is involved, along with joy and happiness and sadness and anger and the mundaneness of it all. I’m so thankful for the opportunity to have this most human of experiences, being part of the life-cycle in the most intimate of ways. And, when I start to feel sad that my baby is growing-up, I’m reminded that she still has a way to go when she comes in playing a game on her DSI and asks “Mama, why does N’s room smell like mealworms all the time?”