Today our daughter turns eight. She is celebrating her golden birthday.
Oh my dear girl, how did you turn eight? When I held you for the first time, your body snuggled on my chest. I felt your breath and the steady beat of your heart next to mine. I remember those early moments. The idea of mothering you thrilled and terrified me. As your eyes opened and closed, mine shed tears at the gravity of our meeting for the first time.
Your entry into my universe changed me forever. I’ve never envisioned I’d experience a love like yours. The one that is filled with hugs, kisses, and a million “I love you, Momma’s” throughout the day. Even if I yell or reprimand you, your forgiveness flows like a waterfall.
We are here. Now. 2,920 days later. These are the days of roller skates, Little Ponies, and Rainbow loom. You still believe in the magic of Santa and the Tooth Fairy. You enjoy playing Twister, laughing every time that your body topples to the ground. You sneak into your room and I hear you play “Teacher” and how you are instructing your “students” on what to do. You’ve amassed a number of school supplies, like erasers, folders, pens, and worksheets that you’ve kept from your own folder in order to properly educate the children in your classroom. This particular activity always makes me laugh because it reveals that you are your Momma’s daughter. There were many occasions when I played teacher in my room too.
There are days that I worry so much about your sensitive nature. You still cry with angst at the slightest raised voice and criticism. This penchant for crying reveals your deeper and intense nature. As much as you love to laugh and enjoy the revelry of being a little girl, some of your questions border on intense for your age. The other day you asked me how to decide which side to take when family members are fighting. I did not have a clear-cut answer to a question that I still am trying to figure out myself. You ask about your grandfather that has passed and you say a prayer every night for your classmate who lost her mother last year. The other day you announced that you did not intend to marry because you wanted to live with momma and daddy forever. You innocently posed the question to your father on what he would do when he became a Grandpa, a question that struck me with joy and sadness about the anticipation of time passing.
Your relationship with your Daddy is one of fun and friendship. I watched as you two played basketball on the court. Your lanky body tried to out maneuver your Daddy and then as soon as you hit a basket, you announced, “I made it.” Still even after 8 years, you run to the door when you hear your Daddy’s car pull in. You’ve learned to greet him with a special handshake that only the two of you share.
I know that in a few years the context of our conversations will change. As much as you love me now in this moment, you may not appreciate the advice I give you in the future. I already see evidence of your free will. Instead of accepting anything at face value, you ask why. When I try to give you an explanation, you respond with, “I don’t really get that.” This statement comforts me. It signifies that you aren’t completely grown-up, but are moving toward becoming a girl who will be asking questions that I cannot answer.
You are turning eight and the shock is all mine. There is so much you’ve taught me about love, forgiveness, wonder and worshipping the present moment.
Happy Happy Birthday My One and Only Dear Little Girl. I love you forever.