My Baby is turning 13 today. Unbelievable. It was just yesterday that I held this tiny little angel in my arms; a little tiny life so dependent on me that I didn’t sleep for the first three days home from the hospital. My first adventure into motherhood. Every step has been and still is brand new with her. Her dependence on me didn’t last long. She has wanted things her own way and on her terms since she was a toddler. Meet my first baby. Meet Virginia:
- As a toddler, she became a willful child. She would throw a fit to being strapped down in a car seat, to wearing shoes or to being held or babied.
- When she was 3 and entered her first day of preschool, she entered her new classroom, turned to me and stated, “You can leave now.”
- At age 4 she entered Pre-Kindergarten. She begged me to let her ride the school bus the first day. I didn’t let her that day, but I gave in on the second day of school. As any mother would do, I followed the bus to school, parked and met her as she got off the bus to make sure she knew where she was going. With a stern little voice – as stern as one can be at age 4 – she frowned, held one finger out towards me and firmly stated, “Don’t Follow Me!”
- At age 5 she wanted her ears pierced. Being a realist, I wanted her to know that it was going to hurt. I warned her that she would cry when she felt the first piercing, and that they would still need to complete the second ear. She sat down in the chair and didn’t flinch or even blink as her ears were pierced. I knew at that moment this child would do anything to prove me wrong.
- From age 6 to 10 we had numerous battles over her independence. Too many to even try to list here.
- At age 10, she begged me to allow her to attend a magnet school that would mean her having to travel alone downtown on city buses – ultimately sending me to therapy. (Blogged in: Learning to Fly and numerous other blogs)
- At age 11, I caught her experimenting with ink from markers….she was making her own blood (Blogged in: Not your typical girly fascination). She also took her next step toward independence by attending summer camp and staying home alone during the summer months as opposed to going to daycare. That was a nail-biting time for Mommy! (Blogged in: Summer Camp?)
- At age 12, she took going to summer camp one step further by sleeping in a tent. An adventure I thought for sure she would hate. Once again she proved me wrong. (Blogged in: Camp)
And now my baby is turning 13. For her birthday this year, she doesn’t want a party. Instead, she asked that I drop her and her friends off at the mall so that they can go see a movie and then shop afterwards on their own. Does this start at age 13? Once again, I find myself in a slight nervous state at the amount of independence she exudes! Not only that, but in the coming months, she will be traveling to Boston with her school. That’s right – out-of-state – without family – without me. As she finds her way through life, she is forcing me to also find my way through parenthood and the difficulty of letting go. I believe she is an expert in this area. I, on the other hand, feel more like a novice. My baby is growing up, but I didn’t now it would happen so early (childhood in her case!).
She’s my beautiful, smart, thoughtful, passionate and independent baby. She may not have been a “baby” for a long time, but she will always be my baby.
I love you Virginia with all my heart. Happy 13th Birthday!