Eight years ago, on the day you were born, I hardly saw you at all. I don't even remember much of that day; you came into this world and there was a problem (it wasn't serious) (but we didn't know that at the time) (and when you are one minute old, every problem is serious) and just as soon as they laid you on my chest, they took you away.

I spent your first day waiting, wondering, worrying. I ran my fingers across the smears of blood and fluids left across my chest in your absence and dreamed of what it was going to be like to smell you, to hold you, to listen to you breath.  You spent your first day asleep under a plastic pie lid, and I like to imagine you were waiting for me, dreaming, too.

I didn't know your lung had collapsed. I didn't know you weren't responding to sounds. I didn't know you have conjoined toes on one foot.  I didn't know anything at all about your first day, except the pieces of information strangers would drop on the floor around me while I waited to be able to bridge the distance from the places you and I were separately confined. 

Your father was by your side though all of this, of course - by kid three the romance of childrearing is dead, and the paternal instincts are at their peak. You were the daughter he'd waited 34 years and 11 months to the day for, and no amount of NICU walls were about to keep him from you.   

When I was finally able to come see you, once I had feeling in my legs again and all the bleeding had stopped and the pain was a distant memory, they let me come see you. You laid pink and wriggly in your plastic bed, covered with things that go beep, and though you were only 1-1/2" of sterilized plastic away from me, it felt as though I were trying to reach across the ocean to touch you. I felt your tiny, new, curly fingers through the veil of plastic sheeting, and for as comforting as it was to feel the shape of you, it was almost more difficult this way. Mothers are not meant to feel distances from their children, especially not on the first day of their lives out of the joint. 

This year, eight years after the day you were born, I hardly saw you, either, and when I did it was again through sheets of plastic. This year, though, you didn't look like the daily dessert special under a heat lamp -  you were across a canyon from me, again with your father, and I got to spend your birthday with you through voodoo they call Facetime. 

You came home to me two weeks later a new person, a girl, an eight year old. I got to meet the new you new - you seemed taller, you spoke clearer, that freaking loose front tooth dangling from your gums like old an old grape, taunting me to pick it. The desperation you've carried on your shoulders since we moved away from Arizona - from your father and the friend you made who I am sure will be with you for the rest of your life - seemed to have lifted off you. You have this shit. You came home a little bit older, but not too old. You came home eight, and that's just enough. 

(Shitty mom's note: Her birthday is the 1st. Today is the 19th. Stop judging me.) 

Lucky Number 13

Shitty Mother's Note: His birthday was on the 14th. In a week, I'll erase this editor's note and we'll all pretend like I got his post up on time. Deal? DEAL.

Last night your sister - with tears in her big, green eyes - said to me, "Mom, I don't want two teenaged boys in the house" and I said something to the effect of "tough shit, kid, because you're going to wake up tomorrow with exactly that. But I don't think even I believed it would actually happen. 

Your aunt Sheryl and I talked on the phone on your birthday about how, just yesterday, you were so small and silly, and about how you're still kind of small and silly, and that's so much a part of your charm. You're fun-sized and you know it. You work out. You're highly ridiculous. You love your momma. You can't remember your homework from 2nd period until 4pm, but you know every single meme uploaded to iFunny during the last 7 weeks.

Audience participation aside: Am I the only one who needs to call it a meh-m and not a mee-m? It drives me to drink.

I can't believe we are in stage two of your life already. The next big milestone we hit, you're out of my door and onto college/tour/jail. I'm banking on college, for the record. No pressure or anything.

Every single one of my kids swore with all the breath in their tiny little baby bodies that they would stay little for me, for ever. Only you have held to that promise. Your sister is - well, um, gah. Your brother? I can't even go there. But you...I hold your hand in mine and it is still as small and soft as it ever was. You hold on just as tightly as you ever did, even in public where there are *girls* and they might be *looking*. You still are as delicate and defined and satiney as the first day I met you, all wrinkly and snuggly and perfect.


I was 24 that day, and you still are able to make me feel 24 today, in so many ways. I still feel unready for the depth of you, not strong enough to hold my own in the gravity of your being. You are an event, an astrological occurrence that makes everyone who's ever come across you stop and behold, with wide-eyed wonder. You are heavy lightness, darkly bright, a walking conundrum that I will never ever ever believe I made, but today, on your 13th birthday, I understand how lucky I am to have gotten every day I have had so far, and the few I still have ahead of me, as your #1 girl. 

All my love, my lucky little 13.