On the morning of January 26, 2001, a woman named Gail handed me a tiny pink bundle of just-born sweetness, proclaimed that she was my daughter and made all my dreams come true. In that moment, a giant-sized hole in my heart was filled.
It took me nearly a decade to have that moment. Six doctors. A few science experiments. A lot of letters mailed to a lot of people. A couple of false hopes. About a million tears. And one wonderful woman.
But it was all worth it in that moment and in the so many others after.
Every now and then, I let my mind to go back to that moment in that hospital room on that cool winter morning, to remember how happy I was, how fulfilled, how utterly blessed I felt to finally become a mom.
Because now, sometimes I just want to strangle her.
I've gone from the mom of the cutest little baby with the most beautiful curls to the mom of an oh-so-worldly, taller-than-me 11-year-old who knows everything she will ever need to know about life and the world -- except, of course, how to pick up her dirty socks and underwear off the floor. Or make a bed. Or fold her clothes. Or comb her hair. Or brush her teeth on a daily basis. Or that chips are not a suitable breakfast.
Who only comes out of her room when she's hungry.
Who doesn't need my help to do anything, from taming her unruly eyebrows to styling her often unmanageable hair to picking out an appropriate outfit.
Who will not listen to a single word of advice from me, whether it's how to heat the pizza rolls or how to use hair products or how to glue the letters on her social studies project.
Who will wear the same clothes for three days straight if I let her, and not comb her hair once, but won't let me car dance because someone might see me and she'd be so embarrassed. Ohmygod.
Who is absolutely enthralled by reruns of Full House, and Friends. And SpongeBob SquarePants.
Who has read every Harry Potter book and the first three chapters of The Hobbit.
Who writes incredible stories of fiction like I never could.
Who draws beautifully, even though she insists on drawing the same kooky characters on every single page of her sketch books. Well, they all look the same to me.
Who has the voice of an angel but will sing for no one but her singing teacher during her weekly lessons.
Who thinks macaroni and cheese is a food group.
Who is all packed and ready to go to register for middle school tomorrow.
Middle School? How in the hell did that happen?
Wasn't it just yesterday we were packing crayons into her little pink Kim Possible school bag? That I put the tag with the little picture of the school bus around her neck and prayed to God that Ms. Mamie was a good bus driver?
That she let me dress her and put ribbons in her hair? Actually, that feels like forever ago.
We spent a good deal of time tonight gathering her just-bought school supplies into her just-bought backpack, checking each thing off the long list of school supplies she will need for sixth grade. Pencils, pens, notebooks, paper. Jump drive???
And as we packed it all up, it took me only a moment to notice that, for the first time, there are no crayons.
Next week she'll put on her new school colors and head off to the land of snarky tweens. Of mean girls in the bathrooms and stupid boys who think straws up the nose and fart jokes are funny. Of cliques and pecking orders and peer pressure and bullies. Pretty girls and not. Cute boys and not. Nice teachers and not.
Is she ready? Probably. But I'm not.
Postscript: On the morning of the second day of school, my 5-foot-4 11-year-old baby came upstairs to my room at 7:01 and woke me. "Mom," she said. "Do you think we could snuggle? Or is that off limits to sixth graders?" .... Just when I think she's all grown up....
Hanging out once again at Yeah Write. Check it out!