My Valentine Gift that Keeps Giving Back
Not roses, candy or even jewelry can top the Valentine's gift I got 16 years ago today.
Today is Valentine's Day and for the 17th time I will be celebrating the best Valentine's gift anyone could ever receive—a baby girl. Motherhood was given to me on Valentine's Day.
That's right: my little girl was born on Valentine's Day and today she is turning sweet 16. That once six-pound, eleven-ounce bundle of joy who slept all night right on my chest in the hospital is now old enough to drive, and, according to Facebook, is in a relationship.
This has been the year that I have had trouble digesting her birthday. Normally it's my birthday I tend to want to forget. But this year with her turning 16, it has been especially difficult.
On Valentine's Day I usually relive the whole day over again, just for the fun of it. As my first child, I kind of figured she would be late, but I knew toward the end of my pregnancy that she was breach, although I didn't know she was a she. So when I went to the doctor's on Monday morning (Feb 13, 1995) for my weekly check up, the doctor decided it was time to schedule a C-Section.
I wasn't crazy about the idea but knew it was better to be scheduled than to be an emergency. So they scheduled me for Friday, Feb. 17 at noon. I went home and relaxed thinking I had four days to get things in place. But, around 5 p.m. I got a call from the doctor's office saying that they had double booked the doctor for Friday and we would need to be at the hospital the very next morning for my surgery. I was having a Valentine baby!
But at the time all that was on my mind was that I had hours to get ready instead of days. My nine months were over and the time was here. I was going to be a mom!
Over the years she has given me such joy as she has grown up. From before her first words, to her walking, tying shoes, dance recitals, piano lessons, and cheerleading, I could see time was going by way too fast. Life was happening, and I couldn't stop time and hold on to her hand forever.
Being a mom has been wonderful, fun, and really didn't seem to be too hard at all. It seems natural. Exhausting, but natural. But now, at her young age of 16, I find myself questioning and worrying much more. You see, I'm not just teaching her how to tie her shoes. Now I'm getting to the nitty-gritty of raising a teenage girl. I'm dealing with the same stuff my mom dealt with my sisters and I.
As the mom, I'm sitting in the passenger seat cringing as she drives too fast down Garfield Road. I'm listening as she tells me about the drugs she learns about in high school or the fact that there is another pregnant girl at her school. And, I'm reading her posts on Facebook, watching her text all day long and getting her help figuring out my new iPhone. All of sudden, it seems her life has really grown up. Where did my little girl go?
Now, I'm wondering if I've done the best job I could over the past 16 years? Have I given her the knowledge she needs to make good choices in life? Have I encouraged her enough so she has the self-assurance to not be pressured into things like sex or drugs? When I kissed her good night each night and whispered in her ear "You're the best," WOULD it be enough for her to really know that she is?
My head spins just thinking of all the possibilities of which way her life could go from here. And that soon she will be making the choices for herself. I'm realizing today, just how much of an influence my involvement in her life really is. I see a beautiful, young woman, who is smart, funny and has so much going for her. I'm scared for her safety everyday when she goes into the world without me, but I'm also so excited as each day comes to see her grow into the young lady she is becoming.
Usually a Valentine's Day gift doesn't last a lifetime but motherhood is one gift that keeps giving to me every day.
So what did we do to celebrate her birthday this year? We (me and 12 teens) traveled in a party bus limo to homes of the special people in her life. She opened gifts at each home with a fun puzzle , which gave us the next route we would be going. We ended at Dave & Busters for dinner and fun on the midway. It was a great Sweet 16 Valentine Birthday party.
Happy Valentine's Day!