Thirty four years ago this morning, flowers were arriving. I was propped up in bed and breakfast was at my door. I was relieved, sore and very happy. My first daughter had just come into our lives. Little did I know at the time that this sweet faced little baby would bring so much love and laughter into our home. She had a mind of her own and it would not be changed. I blamed this on my husband’s side of the family.
My husband and I shared work hours so one of us would be home. When I left for work, she refused a bottle and waited for breast milk when I got home. If I called home and heard her cry, my blouses were immediately stained with two large puddles of milk. Who knew boobs could hear!
Once she learned to say “No”, it became her favorite word for sixteen years. When she was four, she told my husband’s mom, “You are not nice to my Daddy. I think you’re mean.” This created a firestorm. “Where would a child learn these words?” my mother-in-law wanted to know. “Have you met your granddaughter? She has a mind of her own,” I said. She grunted at me.
In grade school we had sleepovers constantly. Naturally she would promise they’d be in bed early and very quiet. I reminded her that at three a.m. one morning as they were dancing in the halls. She did not remember any such promise.
When we took a road trip to visit colleges, she told me, “Mom, you have to learn the words to The Eagles song, Desperado, on this trip…or you’ll drive me crazy.” It seems I had my own version of the song. After six hours in the car, I had her favorite song down. We sang it together. One night at a hotel, she asked me to blow dry the back of her long hair. I looked in the mirror and her three-year-old face stared back at me. I wanted to go back to those days with tea parties and cupcakes. I wanted walks around the block with Cabbage Patch dolls in a stroller. I wanted her to rush into our bedroom during a thunderstorm to sleep in our bed.
When she left for college, I cried like she was moving to foreign country. She was only a half an hour away. My heart preferred her running up and down our hallways forever…not the halls in a dorm.
Now she’s thirty four and happily married to a great guy. They have two sweet little girls. And guess what…they also have minds of their own! Fortunately their daddy’s mommy is very nice so she won’t be getting that phone call.
I am very blessed to say that Erika is not only my daughter, but my friend. I am so very proud of her. I hope this year brings her love, laughter, an abundance of blessings!
Happy Birthday, you wild child. Shine On!….and always know your mama loves you!