18 years ago, I was as big as a house with my first baby. She made a point of being fashionably late and came more than a week after her "due date".
I had fun in going out to stores,
"Oh, when are you due?" strangers would ask while staring at my stomach.
"6 days ago." I would answer and smile and walk past them; their mouths hanging open.
I went for plenty of beach walks (scratch that) waddles. I ate all the ice-cream I wanted. I had a handy shelf for my bowl when I sat down. She's lucky she didn't come out with a flat head where the bowl usually sat. I got a great base tan from sitting on my deck during that warm spring.
She finally arrived just after midnight on May 6th which was a smart move on her part. If she was born on Cinco de Mayo, her name would have been Juanita. At least that is what I was telling the doctor and nurses. I was in so much pain, but could still crack a joke.
Now in 2 days she will be 18. The age where most teenagers "think" they are an adult. They can think it, the law can tell them it, but are they really? How can she be when every time I look at her....
I still see her when I first changed her diaper,
I see her sliding down the backyard slide with her cousin at 1 years old,
I see her on the beach as a toddler holding her doll, Chubby, by the hair,
I see her coming home from her first day of Kindergarten and adopting the stuffed animal lamb that my mom had sent me so I would not miss K so much while she was at school all day,
I see her with no front teeth,
I see her struggling to learn how to read when all her peers could,
I see her dancing and looking at herself whenever there was a reflection or a video camera around,
I hear her singing (lots),
I see her picking berries and making "paint" on the bathroom floor in middle school,
I see her getting all dressed up for her 8th grade dance,
and I see the joy and determination when she jumped her horse Clint in competitions.
It's hard to picture her as an adult when I still see her under the age of 12. It's not that I am ignoring her now as a teen, it is more that I like to nurture her and be her mom. Teenagers like to do things by themselves. They choose to be with their friends more than their mom. I get that. It's hard when that looming age of 18 comes up; they think that they are instantly an adult and that they do not need you.
What they should realize is that they shouldn't rush so quickly to be an adult. Adults have to pay bills, do laundry, make sure the house is clean, make sure everyone gets to where they need to be and be super responsible. It does not suck to be an adult, heck, we can have ice-cream for breakfast if we want to. However, it does give you gray hairs and heart burn (yes, I am sure of that).
Somehow we have to come to an agreement of sorts where she can grow up and be on her own, but not forget her roots. Not forget her safety net. Not forget that there is someone on Cape Cod ready to catch her if she falls or beat the crap out of some boy that hurts her. It's hard letting go, but I have to trust that I have raised her to the best of my ability and taught her that love and gratitude go a long way in life.
Happy Birthday K