Age six. Full-day kindergarten. Reading and math and swim team and golf and our baby girl disappears in a schedule that a 33-year-old has trouble keeping up with. And I say all of this because now she is seven. SEVEN. She is gone all day, everyday...and when she's home, we're hitting the homework, or eating or bathing. Our moments together are few and far between. They take planning and require me to be EXTREMELY intentional.
Seven years ago, at this very moment, I was cuddling with a newborn. My newborn. My first baby. Long before I knew the child-bearing drama that would unfold for us in the years to follow, I had this little girl. This sweet, perfect, 7 pound, 7 ounce bundle.
I was induced with her 10 days early (because my doctor is a SAINT), I walked into the hospital 3 centimeters dilated, and my labor with her could not have been more pleasant. That's right, I said PLEASANT. I can recall a total of 20 minutes of contractions before my glorious epidural. I spent the day watching taped episodes of 24. And at around 5:50, my nurse informed me that I was ready to PUSH (I had no idea, I just took her word for it). Twenty five minutes later, she was born. So, so easy. I even said, minutes after she was born, still red and squirmy, that I would do it all again tomorrow.
You can see my labor tape if you don't believe me.
Those first months were HARD. Not hard because she was difficult, but painful because I was being broken of my most selfish habits. Motherhood changed me in amazing ways--but it was a complicated surgical procedure done with NO anesthesia. Very, very painful.
It took me a good 9 months to know how EASY I really had it. She slept through the night at 8 weeks, and never turned back. She napped. She was so pleasant and calm. She broke me in to being a mother in the most incredibly gentle way possible.
And by the time she turned two, we were expecting babies 2, 3 &4. I planned her entire party (for something in the range of 30 guests) from our Lazy-boy while on bedrest. Only to be admitted to the hospital the night before her 2nd birthday. Miserable.
And by the time she was three, we had these little butterballs, who were about to turn one themselves. Oh, and I might mention that Little J was cooking in the uterus recently abandoned by Big J & L.
Year four. Officially the leader of the little people in our home. In general, our kids are pretty calm. We struggle with our share of issues, but we have escaped a lot of bad scenarios and behaviors, as they relate to having lots of siblings very close in age. I give all the credit to G, because that's just the example she set.
Five. I can still see that little baby in her, though it's fading. Fast. And we have had SO much of the baby phase, that I am beginning to long for the big girl I see emerging in her.
But when I look at her now, I see such a big girl. Who is beautiful. And my goal for the year ahead, is not to take "easy" for granted. Because it is SO easy to tend to the needs of my younger children, and to just let G go about her day. Even as she becomes more complicated and aware and influenced by EVERYTHING around her. If I haven't done the best job of it up to this point, NOW is the time to pursue this girl who is timid and sweet, and anxious at times, and forgiving and smart and quick to please. She doesn't throw tantrums, or try to manipulate, or act strongly on her emotions, which makes her even tougher to REALLY get to know, if you aren't putting in the time. '
And I want to know her. Everyday, and all the minutes that she is constantly changing and growing. Because she is awesome.
Happy Birthday Goose!