I hope you’ll indulge me as I remember this day 20 years ago.
We showed up at the hospital around 7:30 in the morning and by 2:30 that afternoon I was inhaling the sweet smell of new baby as my little Miss squirmed to try to hold her head up and view the world. Her lips puckered as if she were deep in thought, and then her gaze met mine. In our first moment of connection, as our eyes searched each other – we remembered. She was my gift from God, one He had entrusted me to love, teach and care for. In that moment I felt time stop and knew my life and heart had changed forever.
Our first night home I rocked her to sleep in the early morning hours while the house was still quiet and drank in the feel of her soft wrinkled neck, the curve of her nose, the double cowlick on the back of her sweet head, and her curled up toes. I remember how my sweet angelic baby fit perfectly against my neck.
Even when I was up to my elbows in diapers, laundry, and crying babies, I knew time was precious and I needed to treasure each moment. I knew because everyone that had been there before warned of how quickly time would go – and it did.
…nights on end, sleeping with her on my chest because there wasn’t anywhere else she would sleep.
…the day she found her thumb and felt comfort from something besides me.
…begging time to stand still so I could treasure each precious moment.
…the day she streaked across the backyard in the midst of potty training.
…the night she fell off the bunk bed and hit her head.
…her eclectic habit of “collecting” things.
…socks rolled just right with shoelaces perfectly in place for the first day of kindergarten.
…begging time to move a little faster and praying for the patience to endure.
…Third grade when her teacher believed in her as much as I did.
…the day she learned to find peace in reading the scriptures.
…when she realized she could do hard things.
…the day she bore testimony of her Savior.
…High School graduation and cheering with pride at what she had accomplished.
…the day we left her at College.
…the day she walked away without looking back as she left on her mission.
I was there when she felt sick or scared or needed someone to talk to. And then there is today. She is over 1600 hundreds of miles away from me, but my heart is right there next to her, loving her as I always have. Believing in her as only a mother can do. She is amazing and unique – she is my daughter.
The walls of our home still echo with her laughter, ring with her screams of sheer joy, and vibrate with her stomps of frustration. Whenever I feel sad or lonely I listen carefully and can still hear.
Who knew letting go would be so hard? The emptying of our nest has not been at all what I expected. I feel excitement at the new adventures ahead, but I remember with tenderness the times that I never thought would end.
They all grow up, become independent, and the tides change. Suddenly you realize you need them more now than they need you. Arriving at this crossroad has been very strange.
I look at her today and see who she has become – a daughter that is glowing with light. Happy Birthday to my little Miss. How I love and miss you today – the day you were born!