It's my daughter's 9th birthday today. I'm not a huge party person, but I love birthdays, and I certainly like to make the day special. Already though, I made her the wrong breakfast, which she reluctantly forgave me for after somewhat of a dramatic eye roll. Sigh. Sometimes it's just hard to win as a mom.
Being born in the middle of August, this little girl has unfortunately always found herself thrown into everyone else's activities to celebrate her day. This year, after a few previous failed attempts at trying to throw her a party in the past, I decided that we needed to have a big, bouncy blow-up waterslide. So yesterday we did. It was awesome. We had friends and neighbors over, lots of candy, watermelon, and hotdogs. Presents and snow cones. I'd say it succeeded all my expectations and, even more importantly, hers.
Now today, as we've been slowly getting up and cleaning up, all of us experiencing a bit of a party hangover, I can't help but feel a little bit sad about my growing girl. Time is sure a thief. But also a blessing. I love the girl she is growing into—her sass and determination. The way she steps up and is my second hand at everything. She's confident and tenacious. And more and more every day I can't help but see myself in her—something I love and fear at the same time. I love her courage, persistence, and free spirit that does whatever she wants, too often without permission. I find it hard to say no to her crazy curls and freckled nose.
For birthdays, I like to print out pictures of my kiddos I've taken throughout the years. Everyone gets a kick out of looking at them and reminiscing on all the old times. It's always so nostalgic how quickly those first few years fly! This year I've caught myself over and over thinking about how I have grown in the last nine years.
I like to think that the day is a little bit of a celebration for me too. After all, I am the one who did all the hard work in getting her here in the first place, right?! I love the feeling I have of appreciation for my body, its ability to create a feisty little thing like her, and the means and opportunities we've been able to provide her throughout her childhood so far. I love that I can hold her, kiss her, hug her, and that she squeals to get away from me. I love hearing her "thank you's" and watching her excitement when we say yes to taking her to the candy store and picking out whatever she wants. I love feeling that maybe I didn't completely screw her up and that despite my shortcomings as her mom, she's still got a heck of a lot to offer the world.
As a mom, there are so many feelings of doubts and second-guessing. I never feel like I'm doing enough, or if I do, it's certainly done the wrong way or at the wrong time. More often than not, I'm overwhelmed and uncertain. But then, on days like today, I catch some glimpses of what seems to be the most perfect life I could have imagined. And I've decided that I can't think of a better gift for me than watching my sweet daughter enjoying her special day.