I didn't get to see my daughter make her grand entrance into this world, didn't get to hear her first cry.
I was told, later, that she came out hand first -- reaching. That is no surprise to me. She is always reaching for something, usually macaroni and cheese or Diet Dr. Pepper, occasionally money. But very rarely for me anymore.
That's because she's a big girl now. Twelve as of yesterday. A taller-than-me, more sarcastic than me, sharp-as-a-tack, rapier witted tween who is one-year-away from being a (OHMYGOD) teenager. I'm still trying to figure out how in the hell that happened.
I know that 12 years ago yesterday I was standing in the hallway of the same hospital where I was born, holding my breath and praying to every god and every saint I could think of that my husband would return from his "quick errand" before the woman we had just met gave birth to what we hoped would be our child.
I held my breath as I waited, and watched a closed door as that baby was born and prayed like crazy that, soon, I would be allowed in. Finally a nurse came out of that room with a bundle of linens. Spotting me, she signaled me with her head, "Go in." Really? "Go in." So we did.
And minutes later, the woman we had just met made all of my dreams come true as she handed me - me -- the little bundle she had just given birth to. And I am still in wonder that she chose me. She trusted me. She gave her baby to me.
I have cherished every second.
And every hug, every kiss, every smile, every "I love you," along with every stomp and every eye roll.
I love her because she is sweet and funny and smart and witty and is so very fluent in sarcasm, and in spite of the fact that she is incapable of making her bed or picking her socks up off the floor.
I love to hear her sing and watch her draw. I love that she watched and loved "Rock of Ages" with me and that she sat down at the piano the other day and picked out the tune to "Sister Christian."
I love that she held my hand today as we watched "Jersey Boys" on the stage, and that she knew some of the songs. I love that she was as excited as I was that I got us tickets to see Elton John in March.
In the days after my daughter was born, well-meaning mothers kept telling me that I needed to put her down, that I was spoiling her.
I kept telling them to shut the hell up. My arms had been empty for too long, and I didn't want to waste a minute. Even so, I wish I had held her more. Picked her up more. I wish I would have known I wouldn't be able to pick her up at all after about three years. And I wish I had known how soon she would stop needing me.
But I'll never stop needing her.
With her my world is in color.