19 years ago today, I was as big as a house...pregnant...with my first child. I remember vividly getting ready for work at the hospital. I put on my blue maternity top that I lovingly referred to as my "elephant tutu" and my white scrub pants. I worked my evening shift and drove home. On the drive, I was feeling twinges in my belly but I was not supposed to have her for two more weeks...St. Patrick's Day. She had other plans. About 3 am, I called my husband at work...he worked nights...and told him I thought I was in labor. He came home around 6 and cut the cast off of his broken wrist. "I'm not holding my baby with a cast on" he said. I was standing against the wall dealing with contractions watching him saw the cast off with a coping saw at the kitchen table. We headed for the hospital shortly after that. On March 4th...about 24 hours after I started the journey of labor...the Queen was born and our lives changed forever.
The first night home, I remember looking over at the Queen asleep on Jim's chest in her little diaper and onesie and thinking I had won the biggest lottery on earth...sure she was neon yellow and cried because she wasn't able to nurse at first and I was terrified of what Jim and I had done...who were we to think we could raise a family ...but at that moment in my little bedroom in the cabin when I woke up from a sweaty post birth, new hormone sleep...it became clear who I was. I was "Mom" now and my job was to love this little being until I couldn't muster up the energy to do so. That was my job, my priority and who I was going to be for the next how ever many years I would be here on the earth.
She came to us as she is now. She was smart and sweet and had a gentle soul that was forgiving as I muddled through learning to be a mother. I signed her up for everything I ever wanted to do. I was going to live through her. Isn't that what a good mother is supposed to do? Well, no and I learned that the hard way. She is a musician, a thinker not a responder, she is a lover not a fighter and she accepts who she is and shines. That is who she was upon entering this earth and it had nothing to do with me. She speaks spanish fluently, can do calculus and waits a long time to give her heart to someone...but when she does...watch out. You can count on her for anything at anytime.
Every decision I made after that day, was affected by that day...by being responsible for another human being. My world shifted and I was a new creation. As a woman, I was going to have it all. I was going to be a great wife, great mother and great nurse... all while nursing my children into pre-school, maintaining a "smokin'" figure and a meticulously clean house. Can you imagine what it must have been like to be first born of that woman? None of that happened, but I learned after 19 years and three kids...what matters...what really matters to me.
I've learned that what matters and what is good through watching her grow and navigate life differently than I had planned. It's watching a school play with her dressed as a lady bug, or coaching her little soccer team with my youngest nursing on the sideline while I am cheering on my little "rabbits" because she had to play soccer (I was a b-ball and softball player), or being on the phone with her so dissapointed my heart is breaking...It's her making a better decision about something that I would have told them to "go to hell". It's watching her in Nicaragua falling in love with helping people or marching the band out on the field...it's kissing her goodbye in front of her dorm in tears and her telling me I will be okay. What matters to me is not being able to get out of bed because I don't see her every morning anymore and then deciding to get help.
My Queen...my Christie Lou...thank you for being you...for coming to me already loaded with the wisdom to deal with a crazy mother. To understand my highs and lows, to know how to love and when to stop...to be born with a better filter than I have ever had. Thanks for being a person who had been here before and knowing what is right and good and holy. That is who you are and your father and I marvel at who you've been and who you are becoming.
Happy 19th birthday, Shortie-Morty, keep up the good work!
We'll tawk tommorrow,
I love you all,