Once upon a time I was immortal. I raced my parents’ car on the back roads, jumped horses over large obstacles, faced down screaming charging stallions and snarling attacking dogs always confident I would succeed. And I did. Once in a while a, “Whew, that was close” would come along, but it didn’t stop me. I could handle anything. Right.
I remember exactly when I became horrifically, fearfully mortal. It was the day after my daughter was born. As I held that small, sweet child to my breast, fear put a stake through my heart. What if I did not live long enough to raise my daughter? Who would take her if her father and I were killed? I didn’t want her being raised by my family. I wanted her raised in an atmosphere of tolerance and acceptance no matter who she became. I wanted her to know she would be loved no matter what, no strings attached. And that being happy was more important than wealth or importance. I had to live long enough to raise my daughter!
Did this fear ever go completely away? No. But Life makes you learn to live with it. And so did my daughter. When I took her picture at 3 weeks of age and actually looked at her picture without her there to fog my brain, I realized I was in trouble. Those eyes were direct and knowing, an old wise woman at 3 weeks of age.
And she wasn’t waiting around for anyone. At 3 weeks old she quit taking naps. Yes, you read correctly – 3 weeks old. Bedtime was from 10 or 11 o’clock to 7 a.m. There was no time to waste. When she finally managed to flip herself over (early, of course), there was no sleep for 10 days while she practiced even in her sleep, getting stuck in the corners and howling to be dragged back to the end of the crib to start over. Nothing would satisfy her till she could roll herself in any direction. She would have walked at 5 months, but her right foot was crooked and it imbalanced her. The doctors didn’t want her in shoes so she had to wait till about 9 months old to take off. And again, there was no peace till she could do a toddle type run, which took about a month. At which time she never looked back and her poor parents have been playing catch up ever since.
I originally had plans to put up a progression of photos through the years, all right and proper. But as I started going through them, and finding that some of my photo albums are in the pit of ‘someplace safe’, I realized that it just wasn’t ‘doing it’ for me. The ‘proper’ pictures weren’t awful, just not ‘right’. Yes, I wanted the one of her with her new baby brother and the one with her father. But then I realized what I wanted for this day was her smile. Her real smile. The smile a child has that makes her parents willing to slay dragons, to kill or die for their child. And finding that smile, the smile you see everyday at home, was surprisingly hard to find in pictures. But I found some that made me smile and made me cry, ‘cause that is my little girl.
(Unfortunately, some scanned better than others, and one was a grainy from school picture. But they are all my little girl.)
HAPPY BIRTHDAY SAVER OF BUGS!
You bring light and joy into our lives. We love you heart and soul.
Hugs n Smooches, Your family.
First rock wall – “I can so do this!”
Even with her eyes!