Twenty One

I remember.

I remember waiting and waiting during that long month of January.  We thought you would never come. I didn’t know what to expect and I worried about what kind of Momma I would be, if I could keep up with three of you. I wondered if you would be an easy baby…if you would be happy or difficult to soothe…if your sisters would accept this new change for our family.

I remember the storm that followed your entrance into the world.  The day after you were born the skies opened up and a blizzard arrived. The hospital was so quiet that day.  It was our time to be alone before the whirlwind that our life was now to become.

I remember those first few months when you made your presence known. You yelled and cried and would not be ignored. It was a difficult time, but it brought us all closer, trying to find ways to pacify you. Everyone pitched in, your Papa, your sisters, and the rest of the family.  We all had our time of getting to know you.

I remember your independence and persistence and shouts of “ME DO IT!” as you kept up with  your sisters.  You taught us all patience and understanding as we watched you learn and grow. It was wonderful to see how quickly you learned new things. You were never one to be left out.

I remember leaving you at the sitters when I went back to work.  You cried and held on to me…she had to rip you from my arms so that I could go. My heart broke.  I drove away blindly, my eyes overflowing with tears. I felt so guilty to be leaving someone so small with a stranger.

I remember watching you transform into a sparkler, our “smiley” one. The little girl who made friends easily and was always the one that the other children wanted to sit by and play with.  Your beautiful blonde bob was always whirring around the group, very easy to spot! (I know you hated that haircut, but it suited you so well)! You danced and laughed and sang and made a mark on everyone who crossed your path.

I remember the teenage years, when you fought so hard for your independence.  The need to be different from  your sisters, to succeed on your own. You didn’t want to be known as the “littlest” one – you wanted to be counted on your own merit. It was hard at times, but you did a wonderful job of forging your own path.  You are such a true leader!

I remember long car rides to Buffalo, and Ohio, and Kentucky, and Atlantic City.  All those hours talking and singing every song that came on the radio.  You have such an amazing memory for all of those lyrics, it astounds me!  We spent so much time together during those years that you were the “only” one, after your sisters were gone.  You put up with me not only as your Momma, but your coach as well.  You were such a great example to all of the younger ones, and you made me proud so many times on that big blue mat.

I remember looking for colleges and hearing about your plans for your future. You were serious and thoughtful and so mature. It surprised me a little that you weren’t my baby any more.  The excitement of finding a place – then finding a better one.  The shopping and planning and preparing for you to leave us, then the awful/wonderful moment when you did.  The quiet and adjustment of your absence on a daily basis. The joy that you found a place where you feel so happy. The tears when I look at your empty room.

On this day, my beautiful daughter, I marvel at how quickly it has all flown by.  Twenty one years, gone in a flash! You are truly a “grown up” now, not the little tow headed tag along of all those years ago. You are amazing and smart and independent and strong.  You have made friends and started your journey out into the world on your own. I am in awe when I watch you do your thing, with your sisters, with your friends, with your co-workers and supervisors.  I am happy and proud and a little bit sad sometimes because I miss your presence.

I remember all of the hours of joy that you have brought into my life.

Please remember that I am ALWAYS here.

Happy Birthday! ❤

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