Carol Jane Remsburg
Happy Birthday Baby
Fifteen years ago today you were born. As of this moment in time, this very minute, you were 40 minutes away from being born. I remember those moments of stress very well. I lay there in the little room watching the fetal heart monitor awaiting an emergency cesarean section. I was terrified because you were nearly a month early. Those were very long minutes to wait and I tried so hard to be calm. And then finally, there you were, all pink and perfect and healthy.
I remember the first time I held you. It was a combination of fear, awe, and overwhelming love for you. Every moment was a milestone from your first diaper, your first feeding both by bottle and by breast, and even your first bath. The knowledge of such incredible responsibility kept surprising me every few moments and I wanted to be the perfect mother—which I could never be. From the first feeding snafus to learning to invest in gas drops there were many tears and little sleep. Somehow we managed to get through those first few months, then the first year, and then suddenly you were in school.
Your teeth came early as did your speech, but you preferred your walker for speed rather than your own two feet. Only music could sooth you into sleep and once out of the crib it was a combination of music and backrubs to keep you in your little bed. Always busy, always moving, and always requiring every bit of energy I had. Even years later, sleep was an afterthought with you.
By the time you were three, you became my little hat child. Everyday required a pretty dress and a matching hat—and the little white gloves if you could manage it. That lasted almost until first grade. Then came real school, not day care. Transitioning was difficult for you, a situation made worse because you needed glasses and we couldn't get you tested because you thought it was a game. Finally, in second grade, the testing worked and glasses were required and the difference was like night and day. Still, you were a busy child, always pushing for knowledge and for attention. I applauded all your achievements and commiserated with you in your missteps. During grade school and through much of middle school, well, school wasn't your thing. That only lasted up until you faced the specter of real failure. Somehow you turned it around and it changed you for the better. Believe it or not, failure or the imminent possibility of such can end up being a tool to learn by when nothing else works. I was so proud of how you learned to focus, even with some parental assistance.
For the last three years you've been in what previous generations have dubbed, "the awkward stage." I've been watching the signs of maturity in you grow day by day and month by month. Know that even swans go through this stage before they transform into beautiful creatures blessed with infinite grace.
You and I, we've endured the tears, rejoiced in laughter, learned from each other, and shared the bond of love that only a mother and daughter understand. I'm sure there will be more trials ahead of us as well as triumphs. The one thing I know about you my daughter is that you will succeed in anything you put your mind to. And, like the swan, you will do it with beauty and grace.
Happy Birthday Baby!