My baby girl turns 16 next week. Sweetest 16 year old girl ever, in my opinion, naturally. But my girl, my pumpkin, my DoverGirl, my O, is reaching a milestone birthday, an I am overwhelmed with gratitude, joy and wonder.
My hubs, Babygirl and I watched the video (yes we had video back then) of her first birthday party and it nearly knocked me off my feet. My feisty, sweet and adventurous daughter smiled and danced and fell over her chubby toddler legs and crazy cute first birthday dress over and over again. She giggled and hugged and kissed and kept falling down because of her sugar high and missed nap on that day. While the three of us watched through many laughs and gasps, my present day feisty, sweet and adventurous daughter said “You know, I kept falling, but I kept getting up.”
And that she did. She kept getting up. This beautiful girl I love, adore and admire always gets back up. I have worried about her (and probably always will,) because I’m her mom of 16 years (and nine months.) And she always gets up. How blessed am I? How blessed am I? Beyond blessed. I have been given a slice of heaven and while I do, I do, I do know this every day – I take it for granted sometimes because life gets in the way. Deep down I know, but watching this video made me see all over again. It made me really feel the gratitude. I felt it in my bones – the grace, the energy of gratitude!
Watching this video made me see the simplicity of loving a beautiful and messy baby. It made me remember how tender I was (am.) It made me see the love and feel the love of having one baby your world revolves around. I remember the fun of those days and the exhaustion of those days. I remember the questions I had as a new mom – wondering if I was doing it right, if she would ever like the vegetables I fed her, wondered if she would learn to share, wondered if she could feel my angst on the days I questioned myself and couldn’t wait to put her to bed.
But watching these old videos, hearing my toddler mom voice, seeing the same feisty, sweet and adventurous girl that gracefully walks her long sleek and powerful legs through the same kitchen – I know that on the days she did feel my bad moods, my insecurities, she also felt my love. She felt love and care and kindness and respect. It shows in her confidence, her smile, her sass when she doesn’t get her way. She’s comfortable, she’s kind, she’s strong, she’s my girl.
Watching that first birthday video and knowing while she still doesn’t like vegetables too much, her generosity is endless and knows and feels my bad moods more than anyone – I know when I look back at all that I ‘worry’ about now I will be able to smile about it some day and find gratitude I was a part of it. Gratitude for living it.
While I know my parenting gig is far from over, these milestones help me remember the good, the bad and the desperate times. I can NOW say, I have loved it all. Each moment of joy, each moment of fear, each moment of laughter, each moment of insecurity has brought me to this week, this time in my life as the mom of a glorious 16 year old kiddo. Wasn’t I just 16? No, no, not at all. Time keeps on marching. And I will march along with it, remembering and holding my head high with my dear birthday girl and all the joy and tears that are sure to march alongside us.
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