Thirteen years ago today I became a mother at the age of 26. It is hands down the single-most amazing day of my life, that day I gave birth to my daughter. Not even the recollection of 41 hours in labor and complications can taint the memory of the moment I held my baby girl for the first time and realized that astoundingly deep, special, love that other moms had told me about but that I had never experienced until then. There is no other love in the world like that of a mother and her child.
There are people who tell me to "cut the cord." I want to know why I have to? If my daughter likes to be around me but has a normal social life and friends, why should she not want to turn to me when she needs advice or help or just to snuggle? Why should she not want to be with me when she is somewhere where she does not feel comfortable? Why must a cord be cut at this crucial age when kids get involved with illicit substances, irresponsable peers, boyfriends who may pressure them to have sex and bring unexpected children in to the world only to dash the dreams of two youngsters with a future? Our society has become a bunch of cord-cutters way before the cord should be cut. Drop-outs, teen pregnancies, drug users, absentee parents, permissive parenting, emotionally unavailable parents... these are all good reasons for parents to keep that cord intact until the child indicates he or she is ready to cut loose. When I was a kid it was called "having a strong relationship with your parent."
So, today my baby girl becomes a teenager and I find it so hard to come to terms with. Wasn't it just the other day I carried her in the Snugli and danced with her to get her back to sleep at 3:00 AM? Wasn't it just yesterday when she was playing dress-up? Where are the years going? My beautiful little baby is now a beautiful little woman in whom I see many of my own traits- some good and some not so much and so many more that I only wish I possessed. She is artistic, creative and musically talented- playing drums, keyboard and singing soprano in the competitively selected choral group at school. She is sensitive, intuitive and feisty. She is athletic-- playing basketball, soccer and cheerleading all since she was seven years old. She is writing a book, she writes songs and poetry and she loves to learn. While at times her adolescent moods interfere with some (or all) of these activities, I know that they will pass. (They will pass, right?) For the past 3 years, my "little" girl (who is now 5'2") has been setting her alarm to wake up at 5:50 AM, the exact time she was born, in order to wake me up and thank me for giving her life. She then goes back to bed and I fall back to sleep thinking about what a sweet child I have and how lucky I am.
So to the teenager I call "My Pal Al" (after a favorite kids' book of ours) I say
HAPPY 13th BIRTHDAY!!
I love you the whole wide world and the universe!