Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Decade Girl

I laced up my sneakers and set out for a 10-mile run on that hot July day, ten-and-a-half years ago. I had recently finished a half-marathon so the run should have been easy but I felt awful, overheated and ready to puke. Something was off. Coffee hadn't tasted good in a week either. I should have put two and two together.

We returned from our annual July 4th trip to Michigan with The Man's family and in the wee hours of the next morning, the pregnancy test immediately showed positive. So did the next one...and the next. I was 6 weeks pregnant. Shocked and exhilarated and already sick, I felt like I was the first pregnant girl in the history of the world.

From the first flutters, she never stopped moving. Never. Stopped. And as my womb grew cramped, she kept kicking, my cracked rib testifying to her in-utero acrobatics. When the time came for her to make her long-awaited and long-labored entrance into the world, she burst out posterior, pulling clenched-fists up by her head just as she crowned.

She cried and I cried and they remain the most precious tears we've ever cried together. I had never known love like this. And when they put her in my arms, her crying ceased and she stared me down hard and I felt like she could see straight through to my soul. She intimidated me with that knowing stare.
She still has a way of doing that.

She didn't sleep in the hospital and she didn't sleep once we got home. In fact, she did not sleep through the night for two years. Her favorite place to sleep was with me. And while she did not snuggle or cuddle or really take to people much in general, she seemed to find solace nestled up against me when the sleep finally came.

I nursed her the longest of my three...16 months. She refused a bottle and so I just kept nursing. It seemed like forever, living in that attached state with one another. And then one day she was done and now it seems like no time at all.

As for that active baby restricted by her mama's belly, she never stopped moving. Alert and intense from day one, she spent the first eight years of her life not being still. It drove me crazy. Time and maturity are mellowing her and I find myself ironically nostalgic for those years that she squirmed and fidgeted all the live long day. Her relative stillness these days reminds me that she is growing up...and that one day I'll be nostalgic for the things that drive me crazy now.

I wasn't sure either of us would survive those early years. She was strong-willed and so was I. I wanted her to wear one dress and she wanted another. She never seemed to tire of trying to triumph over me. I was worn slap out by the end of every day.
And now? She is much the same. Intense and infinitely observant, she still asks more questions than any of my children. And she is determined to mete out truth in any situation, no matter how inconsequential {which does not always go over well with others.} She has a way of being both blunt and quiet, unaware of how she comes across. This makes me cringe at times and want to stand up and applaud at others.

She is a quirky blend of ironies and I spend a lot of time wondering what she'll be like when she's grown. Seemingly aloof and yet compassionate. A dreamer and also a realist. Fiercely engaged in whatever is going on but easily distracted by what's on the other side of the window.

Time will tell.

And it's days like today that I want to shake time by the collar and tell it to stand still.

The days are long but the years are short. That's the phrase I've heard from several different people recently and it's the truth. Is it ever the truth.

For that clenched-fist baby girl who never slept is 10 years old today.

I get a little weepy over birthdays. And when I get weepy I write and this is probably more than anyone besides her mama really cares to read.

Last night I tucked her in, her final night in single digits, and she asked, Mommy, what was your best age? Honestly, I don't know. But I have to say that where she is right now, this point in time with her? It's pretty sweet and I don't want to forget a minute.

Weeks ago she submitted a special birthday request...that I would sleep in her bed on her birthday. And of course I said yes.

It will be just like old times.

Happy 10th birthday sweet girl.


  1. You couldn't be more right . . . she is quirky fantastic. I love her to pieces.

    You couldn't be more wrong . . . her Nana read every word TWICE, and got teary, and got smiley, and wondered where the 10 have gone!


  2. You aren't the only one that loves to share a mother's joy...beautiful words. Your post appeals to all mothers out there! Thanks for sharing and happy, happy day to your sweet girl. Had to share that I had some of these same thoughts last night...

  3. Happy Birthday, Mallory! I know she doesn't remember me, but I definitely remember the day she was born!

  4. Oh, what a wonderful post! And just so you know, there could never be more of your words than I would care to read.

    Happy birthday to your beautiful girl! And happy birthing day to you. My Will is about to turn TWO decades old. What? Isn't he that sweet baby with red curls asleep in the nursery?? Tempus fugit, huh?

    By the way, I love her room! Enjoy your night in that beautiful bed. :)

  5. What a sweet and wonderful post! Isn't it just an amazing thing to be the mom of a 10 year old?! Such a milestone for a mama, I think. Your girl is definitely a young woman, beautiful. In just 4 months my girl will be 12... the years sure do fly. Blessings!

  6. she looks like mandy today!

  7. Such a heart-felt post! I can't imagine my babies at age 10! Can't possibly do it.

    And I know that it'll be here in about...five seconds. :)

  8. What a beautiful post! I can relate on so many levels to the personality of my 1st child and the relationship I have with her. Happy birthday to your daughter, and congrats on getting to this milestone as her mom!

  9. I'm all sentimental and teary eyed and I'm not even related to her! I just love Mallory...such a cool, unique gal..hope she ALWAYS stays that way! Happy Birthday to one special lady!

    Amy Zaney ;)

  10. Did we give birth to the same child? This so sounds like my daughter.

    Happy Birthday to your sweet girl! She's at such a precious age!

  11. I loved that her request was to have you sleep together. So precious!

  12. I read every word of your blog like I do each and every entry! It makes me sad that I can't be around to watch your sweet Mallory grow up. Two or three times a year is just not enough. Please give her kisses and hugs from her grandma!

  13. Happy Birthday Blondie!
    Beautiful post, Scooper...I'm looking forward to moments like these in my life. Thank you, always, for such naked glimpses into the heart.

  14. I am just NOW reading this. I'm so thankful that our precious girls were what brought us together. Our first year as mothers will forever be etched in my memory as such a very special time. Despite the lack of sleep, a trip to Magees and the Versailles Antique Mall always seemed to make it better!

  15. Just came across your blog and I am moved to tears by this post. I get weepy on my babies' birthdays too. What a special post for your daughter on her birthday.


Share your thoughts?


Blog Widget by LinkWithin