Honestly, January 30, 2009 feels like so long ago. I barely recognize the young mama in pictures from that day. I can see she feels trepidation, pressure, fear and love. I want to tell her so many things: she will do it, this baby's a hard one, you'll do a good job, just love her. But then, of course, I'd miss out on so many motherhood lessons I learned the hard way.
That baby just turned five. She is a whole hand, and a whole handful. She is brilliant, to put it simply. She has such a sharp, inquisitive mind. She is stunningly beautiful. She is extremely sensitive. I can make almost anything better for her when she is sad or hurt. I am on an epic journey, learning to mother her. We're just what each other needed, learning as we go.
I cried again, presenting her birthday cake, aglow with candles. I do every year. I smile and I sing to her and I thank God that, if but nothing else, I am this child's mother. Her and her sisters. I am overcome with pride, and my heart swells with the joy I feel as I watch them grow.
At her birthday party, she invited five friends, all her own choosing. This included two boys from her class, which surprised and amused me. They happily joined in her princess tea party, and then tore off to play basement floor hockey. Abby and the other girls hid in her closet with the chip bowl. All the kids loved getting their faces painted, sharing forbidden treats (cupcakes, woohoo!) and singing my little girl the Happy Birthday song. The sly, irrepressible grin on her face as her family and friends sang to her is made of the same magic that makes the sun rise every morning: new, innocent opportunity, limitless in its love and warmth.