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April 25, 2009

My daughter is seven.

How is that possible? I realize that I’ve said that each year since she turned five, but really. How is that possible?

I remember the moment I had proof positive that Chris and I were officially on our way to becoming a family… It was such a hot August day. That second little line -you know, the one that either shows up or doesn’t? Well, it showed up alright. It showed up before the first little line showed up. Our baby was on her way.

I knew Elizabeth was Elizabeth before she even made her entrance into this world. We never found out our first baby’s gender through ultrasound, but Chris and I both just knew that God was giving us our Elizabeth Marie. When she was born there was that moment when my doctor proclaimed “It’s a Girl!” I so vividly remember responding “I know”.

Those first days and months as a family of three do not escape me. I was flooded and overwhelmed with wonderful emotion when I looked at the amazing gift and responsibility I had been given. Until you feel it for yourself you truly cannot understand when they say that being a parent is like having your heart walking around outside your body. I got it. That new love I had never experienced before just set my heart soaring like nothing before… I am a Mama. This beautiful little person is my daughter. My daughter. My daughter.

Watching her sleep… going over every inch of her little body… learning her… discovering her personality… seeing her sense of humor come to light… oh the joy! Oh the challenge! Oh the awe of it all

First smiles, first laughter, first tears, first rolls, first crawls, first steps, first teeth, first words, first drawings, first flowers picked for Mama, first friends, first school days, first…? All the firsts that are yet to be… lost teeth, crushes, kisses, loves, losses, dances, secrets… Oh Lord let me be there for these firsts too. Please let her continue to share these moments with me.

That sweet, sleepy, cuddly little newborn baby is growing into quite an amazing young girl. To choose one word for Elizabeth is easy- she is fierce. She always has been. Remember that second little line that showed up before the first little line? That was her… being fierce. The very first time I felt her moving inside me she felt like a strong little bird flying from one side of me to the other. I remember how it made me cry out and exclaim with surprise at her strength. Fierce. I can see it in her eyes in the very first photograph I have of her face taken mere moments after her birth. Fierce. In whatever she does she is fierce. When she is happy she is fiercely happy. Watch out when she is angry, for she is fiercely angry. She concentrates fiercely, she draws, plays, reads, writes, dances, sings… fiercely. Love. She loves fiercely too.

All the firsts for Elizabeth are firsts for me as well. She is my first born. She is my learning curve. For better or for worse. She challenges me to be a better mother. I don’t always know what that is, but I am learning along with her. I have to learn. She is learning from me. What example do I want to set? What example am I setting? I want her to someday think to herself “I want to be a mom like my mom”. It makes me incredibly proud when she tells people that when she grows up that she wants “to be like my Mama and be with my kids all day long”. She understands the importance of my job as Mama, I can only hope that she thinks I’m doing good at my job.

It’s terrifying and amazing to watch her separate from me more and more. She used to need me in all things. Now she needs me less and less. She still chooses to need me sometimes, but more and more she chooses not to. This is good. I know that. She is confident, independent and self-assured. Except when she’s not. She has high expectations of herself and I tend to follow her lead. So when she falls short of those expectations I must remember to go back to one of my first and most important job descriptions as Mama: cheerleader. It is my job to build her back up, love her unconditionally, and please God help me do my job well.

If I do things right she will continue to look back less and less, moving forward through life with grace and confidence because she knows that what she is moving away from and separating from will always be a safe place for her to come back to -my arms. I hope she will know that she always carries my heart with her. That she always has a ‘kissing hand’ from her Mama. That she will always be my baby, my first born, my ‘Chicken’, my girl.
My daughter.

My daughter is seven.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Colby family permalink
    April 30, 2009 8:24 am

    oh anne,
    your post is making me cry. you have a wonderful way with words.

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