My 3 Monsters: Eleven

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6.14.2009

Eleven

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On this night eleven years ago my life was forever altered. I learned what it felt like to have a piece of my heart outside of the safe confines of my chest. I learned how poorly I cope with little sleep. I learned how it felt to be compelled to love another person so much that, often, it was painful. I didn't choose to love this sweet little spirit. Not in the way I chose to love her father every day. It just happened and it was lovely. Even if the intensity was a little frightening.
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She exploded into the quiet little life her father and I had created for ourselves like a little firecracker. OK. More like an atomic bomb. I wasn't ready for her strong will and opinionated nature. I thought all babies were docile and complacent. I was wrong.
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She is a first child in the truest sense of those words -- the product of her parent's failed experiments and naivete. But, as most first children tend to do, she has survived. Dare I say thrived? She held on to that strong will of hers with a white-knuckle grip, determined to be who she was in spite of our feeble attempts to tame her.
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Why we would have thought we wanted to change her is beyond me now. I wish, with the perspective that comes with age, that we had spent more time enjoying her spunk and going with her flow rather than trying to drag her into ours. But we were so young!! We didn't know any better.
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She was a prodigious little chatterbox. Almost to the point that I feel now as if some of my memories can't possibly be real. Like when she was between 18 months and 2 years old and I was expecting her first little brother. We told her, very ceremoniously, that his name was going to be Riley. She looked at me, rolled her eyes and said, "Whatever you want. He's your baby."
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That can't be possible. And yet it happened. I KNOW it happened. She and I are bonded. The only girls. Always told how much alike we look. And sound. Both loving to read. And sing and dance. Both easily irritated and short tempered.
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But that's not what makes me love her so much. More than the likeness of myself that I see in her, I appreciate that she possesses many of her father's better qualities. She is social -- to a fault. I love that she has befriended a young couple in our neighborhood. She and Brent met Mark and Megan at the pool one afternoon. Sydney was quick to stop and chat whenever she saw them. She insisted we take them dinner when their daughter, Nora, was born last year. She walked their dog for them when Megan was pregnant again and sick. She invited them to her birthday party last night.
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They couldn't say enough nice things about our sweet little girl. My first instinct is to shy away from situations like that. Not Sis. She gets that from her dad. It's beautiful. Like her father also, she would do anything for her friends. She's happiest when she's helping.
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So, life with Sis began like an atomic bomb. It has taken a while for all the dust and debris of our former life to settle into the beautiful landscape that we enjoy today. I'm happier now. NOW I have a daughter. One who actually LIKES me much of the time. Who treats others with kindness and respect (much of the time . . . ).
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Who is talented and bright and fun to be with. A daughter who has made me a better person as I have learned through trial and error how to be her mom. Who still carries that piece of my heart with her and who better be extra careful with it these next eleven years. I fear the road may not remain as smooth as it has been to this point. And I'm not as young and resilient as I once was. I'm just saying . . .
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Happy Birthday, Sissy. The past eleven years have been a joy.


5 comments:

  1. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SYD!!

    Those are some great pictures, Amy. :-)

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  2. Happy Birthday Syd! Is the last picture of her as Alice? ADORABLE! I would LOVE to see more Alice pics. Her costume looks stinkin' cute!

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  3. I love, love, love these "open letters." Great tribute for a great girl from a great mom! Happy B-day!

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  4. p.s. that picture of her in the towel with the sunglasses... I think my ovaries literally did back flips when they saw that... too cute!

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  5. I love this girl! I think I know a little how you feel with my little 'first borns' :)

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