Friday, July 17, 2009

Celebrating Big Sister's Big Number Nine: Reflections

Nine years ago at this time I was monitoring the tightening of my abdomen, timing the length and distance each was from the next, wondering if this would be it.  I was three weeks out from my due date with my firstborn, but somehow the possible complications never crossed my mind.  Youthful ignorance was a blessing back then as there were so many other things for me to worry about.  I was off to the hospital at 10:30 and admitted by midnight.  At 12:33 the next afternoon, I would have endured the worst delivery I've heard stories about even to this day.  I hardly noticed the aftermath, the nurses shocked to find out that I hadn't had an epidural, rather my legs wouldn't support me due to the local anesthetics used after the birth.  I was busy being mesmerized by the tiny toes, the clenched fists, the button nose that had been entrusted to me.  It was her and I, no matter what.  I knew that even then.  

My friends had done their best to include me in their normal lives, and I'm sure that they enjoyed the idea of tiny tie-dye onesies, made in my absence at a get-together, as much as I did.  I can't really imagine being on the other side of my friendships after I was pregnant and married.  There must have been a lot of thoughts unspoken, worries kept secret.  I'm not sure I would have listened to them, and oh, how I needed the comfort of knowing that they were still here, loving me and pulling for me!

I left the hospital with my mom, and before we even went home, I wanted to bring my baby to meet her namesake, my paternal grandmother.  The first granddaughter had been given a variation of my grandma's name, and as this was the first great-granddaughter, I thought it fitting to use another variation for my daughter.  My grandma was already aging, and she passed away when my baby girl was 18 months old.  I so wish they would've gotten to know each other, but I try to share stories of her in the hopes that she will be remembered through me.  

She was so tiny when she was born- I literally dressed her in doll clothes.  I didn't realize just how small she was until I tried to fit Little Miss into her big sister's newborn clothes!

She was such a joy as a baby, a perfect match for me.  I truly believe that God created her with my unique situation and abilities in mind.  When she would wake up in the wee hours of morning, she would crawl into my bed and use her chubby fingers to pry my eyelids apart in the hopes of starting her day before the sun.  At the time, I thought I might die of exhaustion, but I looking back, her spunky personality is what kept me busy enough not to dwell on other parts of my life that were crumbling around me.  

My absolute favorite picture of her.  We'd gone to the fishing park near home one afternoon, in typical fashion, to play and sneak pictures.

And THEN... she started to grow up on me.  This was her first day of preschool.  I didn't get teary as so many mommies do.  I knew without a doubt that she was not only ready but honestly needed the experience.  And she's been yacking her teachers' ears off ever since!

We've dabbled in lots of activities over the years: ballet and tap lessons, soccer, voice lessons, gymnastics, and horseback riding lessons.  None of them have pleased me as much as this first year of dance lessons.  She attended the studio where I had been a student for thirteen years, and it was a joy to watch her swallowed by love from the curly redhead owner who had watched me grow up.  That was the last year the studio was open.

This was Big Sister last year on her birthday.  Every birthday, I take some time to look through the pictures of her from the last year, soaking in my amazement of the changes that have taken place.  Every year, she looses a little more of her childish cuteness and replaces it with the hint of mature beauty.  I can see the future teenager in her already, and THAT does make me want to cry, to freeze time.  It's always been her and I against the world, and I hope, pray, that our connection withstands the years of hormones and arguments over boys and curfews.


Ashley said...

What a sweet post. I can't believe she's does NOT seem like 9 years ago we made that onsie! :0)

Mrs. Haid said...

This is avey sweet post. It made me remember how worried for your physical health I was, despite our strained relationship (I'd done some research about teen birth and found lots of topics to pray over your about). It also made me remembe the first times Juliet came to ou Christmases or family gatherings and how tiny she was then, like a pixy flitting around. Her age given he longer legs, a longer attention span, and more empathy to others.

I also remembered what it was like to be 9. I really liked that age, for some reason! It was a less shy age for me, an age where I think I developed a lot moe concern for others and a large view of the world. I wish for J that she will experience these things in her ninth year, too. Its a huge developmental leap... straight into middle school. Wow.

I also forgot how cute you wee with really short hair. It looked good!

And, finally, thank you for not sharing a horror birth stoy with me. I have so appreciated that few people have told those types of tales to me. Of course, post-birth, I would love to validate your experience and listen to what you leaned from it. But, after... so I will have some experience to share and and connect with.

I think if you have a post like this fo all of your children and save them in a blub book of some other yearbook format, it will be a very special graduation gift. :o)

Chrissy said...

So sweet. Made me teary actually.