My daughter Molly turns eight this week. She absolutely cannot wait. She has one of those fall birthdays, that make her always one of the last of her friends and classmates to become "the age", whatever that age is. My sweet daughter always wants to be just a little bit older. She can't wait to see what comes next and it is her incredible spirit for life that brings me such joy and peace. The kind of peace that is often difficult to find in a world filled with so much uncertainty. Molly is an inspiration to me. She is all that is good and right in my life. So today, I celebrate her.
The day Molly was born, was like every dream I had ever had, coming true in one quick moment. My pregnancy was a bit challenging, as I am a lifelong Type 1 diabetic, and I treated it very much like a full time job. I was nervous and anxious when the day finally arrived to go to the hospital and be induced. The morning of September 7, 2004, was going to be the day I finally met my daughter. I had a beautiful pink outfit packed to bring her home in and my husband and I were beyond ready. But in true Molly fashion, she was going to do things, including her highly anticipated arrival into this world, her own way and on her own terms. So after seven days of failed inductions attempts (yes, seven), twelve good (and long) hours of real labor and even a quick trip home for a night to get my "spirit back up", my daughter Molly arrived via c-section in the late evening hours of September 14, 2004. Our big, loud and always supportive family filled the waiting room so there wasn't a seat left if some poor family wanted to sit and anxiously await the arrival of their own newest member. My husband and I became a family in just a few quick minutes and our daughter changed our lives forever. She arrived with much fanfare and a beauty that I still cannot put into words. I knew, the moment I finally held her, that this day and all the September 14ths to come, would forever be a day to celebrate all the goodness that she embodies.
Molly loves birthday celebrations. She likes big parties. She loves to gather all her friends together and entertain them. She loves to see others happy. My daughter truly has a heart that only grows bigger and bigger each day. I am quite certain she was just born this way. Kind and compassionate. Wise beyond her eight little years. Sometimes, I look at her and I can't see the little girl anymore. I am taken back by how mature she has become. How she understands so much, but knows when to speak up and when to stay quiet and respectful. There are many weeks that come to a close, and I realize I spent the week hanging out with my best friend, my daughter. I worry, sometimes, that I treat Molly too much like a grown up, when she is really only a young girl, but she has always been like this. Fun and silly with her girlfriends. Attentive and kind with her teachers. Compassionate with the world around her and fiercely protective of her little brother.
Molly is, who she is. But I know, a little piece of her has been shaped by her beautiful and unique relationship with her little brother, Brady. Brady was born with a very rare chromosome duplication on the tip of his first chromosome when Molly was almost four years old. Molly wanted nothing more than to be a big sister. She wanted to experience being a role model. She wanted to have someone to boss around and play make believe, until she said all done. Molly just wanted a baby brother to love and share our life with. She wanted a partner and someone to go to complain about mom and dad and share silly secrets. There are so many days I think that Molly got a little bit of a raw deal. She got her baby brother, but she also got a little boy who requires lots of extra care and extra worry. Brady is a very special little boy who loves unconditionally, but has never told his sister he loves her or wished her a "Happy Birthday." I know that makes her sad, but she doesn't complain. She has had to learn to communicate in a way that only her brother can understand, because he has no words to share with her. She has cried tears of frustration. I have seen the fear and confusion in her eyes. I know the pain she has felt fill her heart. Being a special needs sibling is tough stuff, but it does not define Molly. It is just a part of who she is.
Molly is Brady's big sister. It is a title she wears so proudly. It has helped her understand people's differences and stand up for those who can't always speak up for themselves. Molly is a girl who makes sure everyone feels included and no one feels different. When she loves you, she loves with every last bit of her heart. When she cares about you, she will protect you and defend you, regardless of the challenges she will face. Molly is everything I dreamed of eight years ago. She is talented, smart and beautiful. She has very special friends. The kinds of friends that you welcome into your family and smile because you know your child recognizes love and kindness at such a young age. Brady has taught his big sister much about compassion and accepting differences. But Molly has given her little brother a gift that cannot be wrapped in a pretty package or granted by blowing out a candle. Molly has given her brother the gift of unconditional love. I see it each and every day, when she helps him put his shoes on or follows him around the backyard. I see it when she gets frustrated with him because he stands in front of the tv or has a fit in the middle of a Kroger. I see how she treats him just like anyone else. She doesn't see his differences or limitations. She doesn't see them, because that is how she looks at the world. Free of boundaries, but aware of challenges.
So as my little girl, once a sweet and precious baby, gets ready to blow out eight glowing candles, I celebrate the remarkable young person she has become. I celebrate the goodness in her heart. I celebrate the kindness that flows from her smile. I celebrate her roaring laughter that can turn a tough moment into one of giggles and grins. I celebrate her love of dance and crafts and being a little girl hanging out with her best friends. I celebrate all that makes her unique. But mostly, this year, I appreciate every moment and I celebrate her. Happy 8th Birthday Molly!