Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Has it really been 14 years?

I went out for a brief run this morning (I'm still not quite admitting to a Training Program, but still) in the rain-washed air. Then it struck me -- fourteen years ago I had just done something really hard, too.

I haven't scanned the old pictures, but I had just given birth to a baby, my first one. She'd started in one of the most beautiful deserts in the U.S., and despite the months where the only thing I wanted to eat was chocolate malts, and the fact that easily 90% of this baby girl was made of ice cream, the pregnancy was a hoot.

Birth had its funny moments, too. But mostly, it just felt miraculous. I had been oddly alienated from my body for years, and having her at home, in our bedroom, with screams and some blood and some extreme silliness, just gave me back myself. I remember holding her immediately after she was born and having the stunning realization: It was you the whole time -- you were who we have been waiting for.

Eric and I stayed up all night, just looking at the exquisite beauty who had showed up.

We should have known, then. We'd stay up all night for a lot of nights. This one wasn't what you'd call a sleeper, and we were still learning how to do this parenting thing.

But we made it through her babyhood and toddler years. I think she spent most of them tucked into a sling on my hip. And she stayed beautiful. And got funnier and funnier.

There were the "dress and leggings" years, and "Swan Lake" mania, and adjusting to siblings, and a couple of very cranky periods, but through it all, she's been fascinating.

Now that it feels like she's fully into "youth," she's even more interesting. I know, I know, how could it get any more interesting than Ballet All The Time, but it is. She's a boon companion on walks, watching movies, discussing books, playing Frisbee. She's a fierce friend to her few chosen compatriots, and a sometimes patient, sometimes irritated sibling. She's a fun Big Kid to her cousins, even though they try her patience. She loves her pets and keeps having interesting insights that she will sometimes share with me.

That radio silence is in itself a miracle, since she literally talked without stopping for a few years there. I thought it would never end.

But one thing this precious firstborn daughter did teach me is that it ends. . . it goes by fast, and maybe increasingly faster. The journey has been constantly interesting and it appears to be getting ever more fun.

So happy birthday, Sarafina.


cpurl17 said...

Happy Birthday lovely Sarafina!

Lara said...

Happy Birthday, Sarafina!

My oldest turned 14 in January, and it sometimes seems so mysterious how we got here. Looking back, it seems so fast, but so full. Bittersweet.

allisonmariecat said...

Oh, Happy Birthday, Sarafina! What a lovely Thing indeed.

Susan said...

Happy Birthday Sarafina! I loved seeing the photos of her when she was small. It is amazing to think back on those first moments after they are born and you imagine the future. Now you know what the future held.

Ruby Louise said...

Happy Birthday Sarafina!!

Pancake Goddess said...

happy birthday to you both!
14 has been nice for us so far... enjoy

Janis said...

I can't believe she is 14. Give her a hug for me.