I bet everyone with kids feels the same way – how did this happen? They start as a tiny bundle of joy, precious, needy, and easy to love.
They grow, and learn, steal your heart, and make you proud. They challenge you, and love you, and surprise you.
You turn around, and they are 18. Ready to fly and take on the world.
Age 0 – Born happy, and part of our life in every way. And then you were sick, and scared us, and we realized for the first, but not the last time, that we would do anything for you. You pulled through, and came home, and our house and our hearts have never been the same.
Age 1 – Walking, smiling, touching, and learning. “Read a book” was your favourite demand. And “I do cooking” your favourite game as you mixed, and flipped, and tossed ingredients.
Age 2 – Strong, standing hands on hips, looking me in the eye and declaring “you are not the boss of me”. You learned to open your door after naps, run into the hall, and announce to the world “I come out”.
Age 3 – Welcoming your new brother, and loving him, and asking every day “where’s my baby?”. Playing with him, loving him, and taking many pictures where you screamed “cheese” while holding him so you have the biggest smile and he cries from the fright!
Age 4 – Starting school, making friends, and challenging the world every day. In Junior Kindergarten, you made up a language with your friend so the two of you could talk while laying on your blankets when you should have been sleeping.
Age 5 – Social Emma, starting to understand the dynamics of people. You went to your first sleep-over with several friends and when they started to play a game of locking one person out of the room, you refused to play. You snuck downstairs and called me, and asked to be picked up.
Age 10 – You moved into your new school and proved your resilience. After making statements (to the other moms) that you were going back to your old school, you embraced the change and thrived. The gifted program, the friends you met, the homework and speeches, the activities you joined. You were able to find joy in people and learning and physical activities. You joined Destination Imagination and your creativity flourished.
Age 14 – Graduating from public school, ready for high school with no looking back. You gather friends as you go, taking the best from each of them and making new friends at each stage. You kept the friends from your street, your grade school, and your soccer teams. And then you moved into high school and added more. The 5 “besties”, who knew they would be with you throughout these years?
Age 16 – Hanging with your besties, making decisions for your future, starting to drive and I see you pulling away. All the things you need to do to grow, you pull on my heart-strings, you bring tears of joy to my eyes.
Age 18 – You are here, on the verge of so many fabulous things. You’ve learned, and grown, and listened, and challenged. You are a fantastic, loving daughter, and sister, and friend to many. You have strong views and analytic thoughts and terrific humour all wrapped together. You learned the best from us – how to live every day and still plan carefully for the future. You are a kind person. You have balance.
Happy Birthday Big One. It’s been a wonderful journey with you so far.