Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Eighteen

Eighteen years ago today I became a mother. I knew my life would change and I was ready for it. I was not shocked by what a baby brought into the home; crying, constant diapers changes, sleep deprivation, runny noses, slobbery drool and the fact that I would never sleep through an entire night ever again without at least waking up once and thinking, "I should just go check on her. She is being too quiet (or her breathing sounds weird, or, etc. etc)".

No, I loved it all and at the time, when BOTH of my parents would look at her and say to me, "You won't believe how fast it goes.", I thought they were crazy and quite frankly, being just a tad over dramatic.

Oh, how stupid was I. Turns out they were right on the money. Today I am looking down the barrel of a gun loaded with the number 18. I am sitting here trying to figure out how so much time has gone by when I swear to you it was only yesterday that she said her first words;mama, dada, more, some, and pease (for please).

It was only yesterday that I had Gram make her Frosty the Snowman for Halloween and it was the world's BEST Frosty. Except of course for Frosty himself. We had to bribe her all night long with constant candy bars to get her to not freak out being in that costume. She absolutely hated it. Unless a candy bar had just been popped into her little mouth. Nothing like a sugar high to put things into perspective. Because we are good parents like that. Also, if she fell over, which happened frequently in that get up, she rolled around on the floor, unable to find purchase to help herself back up until one of us could stop laughing long enough to rescue her. Best. Costume. Ever.

It was only yesterday that I took her to see Sesame Street Live and she was too scared to go hug Ernie and Bert because they looked so big in person. But to be honest, it must be a bit disconcerting to watch something on TV and then when you see it in person, it looks ten time larger than you were expecting.

And wasn't it just yesterday that she started Kindergarten in her little plaid dress, white socks, and black Mary Janes? I'm pretty sure it was. The little girl who was too smart for her own good at times (because let's face it, when you are teaching a Kindergarten class, you do NOT want a kid reminding you that you forgot to do something in the right order).

The little girl who loved tree houses, forts, and making odd little versions of the movies she had seen with us using her gigantic video recorder, sister, and best friend. And much to my utter disappointment, was never really into Barbie dolls despite my constant attempt at trying to lure her to the dark side with Barbie Condos and the Barbie swim party pool and Barbie Corvette and yes, just to spice it up, even the Barbie RV (I never really got over my love of all things Barbie-what can I say?).

The little girl whose best Christmas present when she was six, was a desk loaded with markers, scissors, tracing paper and a switch that lit up under the paper for easier tracing.

The little girl who became obsessed with Riverdance and would pop the video in the VCR, run and change into the dress she deemed the most likely to get her in to a Riverdance show (not even close but I was not one to dampen her clogging loving spirit so I never told her), and put on her "clogging" shoes (her best black mary janes that had the most click to them and gave a satisfying enough Riverdance sound when pounded on wood floors).


The little girl who used to love to see her Uncle Jeff come for a visit because, and I quote verbatim, "Uncle Jeff, you are the weirdest person I know." And she said this in the most admiring voice and as if bestowing him with the highest honor. His response? "Everyone has to be the best at something. I'm the best at being weird." Such words of wisdom from an Uncle to his niece.

The little girl who loved books just like her mom. Would get lost in them. Actually she still does, much to my delight.

 The little girl who would watch Spongebob for hours and sing his Christmas song every Christmas Eve with her sister, "Santa's coming tonight, tonight. Santa's coming tonight." Actually they still do, much to my horror. (Okay, I think it's sort of cute but ya know, I have to at least pretend to be a little horrified).

The little girl who thought the Easter Bunny was on some crazed vendetta to kill her one Easter. She spent about two terrified hours having the hubby check all over (including outside on the deck) to be sure the Bunny wasn't just lying in wait for her to let down her guard before going on his shooting rampage of little girls who dared stay awake on Easter Eve.


 The girl who loved to ram around in the goKart or go on treasure hunts around the island at the start of every school year with her cousins. Who loved white water rafting and canoeing down the saco river with her dad. Who could, and would, spend all day at Grandma Reidy's beach whenever we visited in the summer. Who went on a nature walk with Grammie Ellen, only to lecture her, upon Grammie's discovery of a dead deer carcass and subsequent lecture of body parts, "Mama's not gonna be very happy. You showin' us dead stuff."

The girl who grew up to get hat tricks on the soccer field and love acting in the school theater productions. Who loves intense games of Railroad Tycoon with her friends and working with the younger kids in the Little Bridges program at school. Who is a bit of a tree hugger (got that from her dad, me thinks) and, while competitive, still can manage to go up to an opposing team mate and apologize for the crowds poor sportsmanlike behavior (ahem, not me though, no, I am ALWAYS a great sport-okay maybe not-again, this would be a daddy trait).

 A girl who amazes me on a regular basis. So that girl turns eighteen today and I can tell you with all sincerity, I never saw it coming. But I can also tell you that I love her more than any words that I could ever find would or could describe adequately and that she makes me proud that I get to tell people she is my daughter.

Happy 18th Birthday Blake Leigh the Buttercup girl, the prettiest girl in the whole wide world!!