Saturday, June 18, 2011

My sweet girl turns seven

I have reached the point that I no longer want to write these birthday posts. Every year I document my beautiful daughter growing at a rate that I swear is equal to the speed of light times a billion infinities. I asked Iris if she could please stop growing. We would still throw parties for her every year, a "birthday" party of sorts, but instead of getting older, she would just stay the same age. She didn't agree.

So here we go.

Iris, when you were born seven years ago today I was so scared. It was me and you against the world and I just prayed that I could be a decent mommy to you. I didn't look forward to the next day, week or month, it was all about what was happening in the moment. If someone had told me on that day anything about who you would be at seven I wouldn't have believed them. I couldn't even imagine what the next seven years would bring for us.

I had no idea, that day when you became my daughter, I would become the most amazing thing I could ever imagine becoming: a mother. YOUR mother. Thank you.

You have the most amazing imagination of anyone I have ever known. You picked up crayons at 14 months old and from that day forward you never stopped drawing. I wish I could live just one day in the worlds that you create.

You desire both security and independence. Watching you slowly distance yourself from my protection has been both heartbreaking and thrilling. I wish I could both snuggle you in to my lap for the rest of your life and stand aside beaming while you take off and spread your wings.

Unlike the day of your birth, I can now look forward and attempt to imagine who you will be in the future. What will our mother-daughter bond look like when you are a teenager? When you move away from home and go to college? When you have your first child and become a mother yourself?

Today we celebrated your birthday with friends at the rollerskating rink. I didn't get to spend very much time with you until the very end, when you asked me to skate with you. I reached out my hand, thinking you meant that we would skate together holding hands.

You ignored my hand and skated quickly past me. I sped up to catch up to you. We took several spins around the rink with me skating about as fast as I could just to keep up with you. I imagined this scenario, played out across many facets of our life. I was proud of your strength. That was the happiest moment of my whole day.

This year I was so excited to bring you to Hawaii and experience so many things together for the first time in either of our lives. We both swam in the ocean for the first time. We snorkeled for the first time. We saw sea turtles for the first time. We both took our longest flight ever. We watched spinner dolphins leap and play around us. We watched the sun set over the ocean from the beach.

I watched you swim with such bravery. I knew you were physically capable of swimming across deep water, you just needed the confidence. In Hawaii, you found it. You jumped right in to the ocean right off the back of a boat without a hint of doubt.

As a child who can easily be overcome by fear, it was an especially tremendous feat.

I am so proud of you, Iris, and I love you. Happy Birthday. Seven is going to be a great year for you.

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