“The most precious gift From Heaven above Is the gift of a daughter for a mother to love.” ~ Dana Clark
Sixteen years ago today is a day that is etched in my memory. From waking up, and realizing a few moments later Today will be THE DAY. Today, I will finally hold you in my arms. Today, I will look into your eyes. Today, I will finally meet your precious self. Today, I will become a mother.
That morning, as I gathered my things and we headed to the door, I paused to look around one last time. The cradle was ready, lined with white lacy bedding I had lovingly sewn by hand (truthfully, it was part of what helped me fill the long hours of many weeks of waiting!). The changing table was stocked with “necessities” … many of which I later learned were not. The rocking chair was built and put in readiness. And my quiet life of predictability … would end when I walked through that door.
I welcomed the change. I had dreamed of being a mother from the time I was a girl myself. I remember my excitement when the test came back positive. Nothing could equal the joy that bubbled up inside of me. And when the doctor told me you were a girl was when I realized that was exactly what I hoped for. Preparing for your birth and dreaming of the moment we would finally meet was my great delight.
Nothing was ever truer for me than the quote: Before you were conceived I wanted you, Before you were born I loved you, Before you were here an hour I would die for you. This is the miracle of Mother’s Love …
From those early, precious days when I sat up late into the night holding and feeding you and just watching you sleep, to the toddler years where everything was bright and exciting and happened so fast, I enjoyed every minute of it. Even the sleepless nights (of which there were many!) and the tantrums (of which there were amazingly few — can a 3 month old really throw a tantrum? You never did when you were older than that.). Visits to the park, playdates with friends, blowing bubbles, listening to your first words, playing in the sandbox, singing silly songs, flying a kite on the beach. Those moments and many others are locked away in my memory forever, precious treasures that I will never lose.
Homeschooling you was one of my great joys. It delighted me to see your mind make wonderful leaps and invent new answers to old questions. I was pleased to give you the opportunity to grow up with a diverse group of friends of all ages, and to have the chance to experience learning first-hand in the world itself through a variety of field trips and group activities instead of only in a classroom. We also had the freedom to vacation in September or February if we liked, and every year it became our tradition to take the month of December off academics and instead make Christmas crafts, bake, decorate, and enjoy the many pleasures of the blessed season.
I know there were times you were unsure as you were becoming a teenager, but I want you to know that I delighted in watching you become you. I was ever impressed by your courage, your convictions, and your sense of honor. You were the one who stood up to bullies on behalf of more timid children. You were the one who said right is right, and wrong is wrong, no matter the potential consequences. Even as you explored those things that made you different from me, I wanted you to know that I respected you and I understood that you needed to spread your wings and not stay within my shadow, and I applauded you for flying.
You are beautiful, not only on the outside, but also on the inside. Your spirit is lovely, and you are strong and have a wisdom of your own. You are wonderfully creative, and have such amazing talent as a writer, a singer, an artist and in playing the piano. I’m sure you will find other talents within yourself as you grow and experience new things, and I celebrate those in you as well.
As you stand on the threshold of becoming a woman, more than anything, I want you to know that I love you, always and forever, no matter what may come. I am proud of you, and I believe in you. You are my daughter, my heart, and it is with great joy, as well as a bit of melancholy, that I honor you today on this, your sixteenth birthday. Happy Sweet Sixteen, Daughter.
~ from your Mother, with love