I was just a baby myself when you were born, with no concept of the immense responsibilities, joys and memories we would partake of together on our journey as mother and daughter.
That’s me—big hair, big belly, and really big clothes on Christmas of ’86. Figure flattering maternity clothes were not to make an appearance for several more years. Oh, Lord—a red vest? What was I thinking? But your dad looks sporty in his white pants and matching sweatshirt, doesn’t he?
Twenty-one years old, I could not have been less prepared. But, I was full of love for the bundle of innocence I cradled in my arms in a hospital on New Year’s Eve of 1986. I whispered to you while the nurses down the hall ushered in 1987 with noise makers and makeshift festivities.
Your dad was ecstatic. We wanted to give you everything. A happy home and a loving family—and I wanted to protect you from all the bad things in the world. Being a mom was daunting, but my heart melted that day, and I jumped in to this foreign world with both feet.
Oh, the memories…
Sleepless nights pacing in the living room, watching reruns on Nick at Night. Endless hours at the playground. Lincoln logs, Play dough, and hundreds of games of Candyland. (I must confess, I cheated during many of those games. )Stacking the deck, so you would make it through the molasses swamp and win the game before drawing the inevitable card that would send your player back to the peppermint forest. 30 minutes of Candyland was my limit. I was just so darned tired.
When your baby sister came along, there were afternoons I was so exhausted I would lock the three of us in your bedroom with a laundry basket full of toys, and I’d lay down on the carpet and shut my eyes—just for a minute or two, or twenty—while you entertained the baby. Motherhood was taking it’s toll.
But, we made it through those years, and two more baby girls later, I watched you grow into a confident preteen, who took her firstborn roll just as seriously as I had in my childhood. Always the leader, you helped me homeschool the younger ones, learned to manage the household at a young age, and were a delight to me in every way. Your sisters tell a different story—one of a teasing older sibling, who loved to torment them for fun, and always had to be in charge. Classic firstborn. Today, they see you as a loving older sister with a lot of common sense, and they admire you for the same reasons I do, so, all things really did work out for good, eh?
Looking back, I’m in awe of how God fashioned me into a mother.
I wasn’t ready.
But, I suppose one never really is. I will say, without a doubt, I poured my heart and my energy into raising you and your sisters. I made a lot of mistakes. At times, I felt like a failure, but most days, I believed I was right where I should be—nurturing my little girls and trying my best to set an example you’d want to follow one day.
Side note. . . sorry about the crazy clothes I dressed you up in—the eighties and early nineties were not good to any of us. Patterns, florals, puffy everything—giant bows, sparkles and overalls. Many, many sets of overalls. Sorry there aren’t many photos of you alone once the sisters came along. Sorry there aren’t many of you and I together (I was always the one taking the pictures), and sorry I forced you to sleep in pincurls for most every holiday during your early years!
Despite my faults and quirks, by the grace of God, I’d say things turned out pretty well.
You have become an amazing woman.
A true friend to many. A godly wife. And a better mother than I ever was.
Me (circa 1989) . . .
You, (circa 2016) . . .
When I watch you with your own daughters, I thank the Lord for His hand in your life, and for the patience, wisdom, and love you pour into your babies every day. I love our relationship—I love spending time with you, and I love being your mom and your friend.
So, Happy 30th birthday, my sweet daughter. And thank you for the gift you are to me.
May the Lord bless you in all ways, in all things, and through His mighty Spirit in 2017.
With all my heart,