“Making the decision to have a child – it is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.” – Elizabeth Stone
That Elizabeth Stone was a smart cookie.
How else can you describe the feeling of creating and carrying a child; protecting and nurturing her before she can even breathe on her own, then slowly, over the course of time, allow her to become her own being? She is a part of you. Yet, not at all.
There are times when it seems she won’t ever be self-sufficient, like when she was a tiny preemie who didn’t grasp the concept of eating and breathing at the same time.
Or, the 13 months of rocking her to sleep for every nap and bed time. At the time, all you think about is how much you want her to slumber without assistance. Sixteen years later, all you think about is what you wouldn’t do to have the chance to hold her in your arms like that again.
Now there are moments when you feel like she is soaring to terrifying heights as you stand with your feet firmly planted on the ground, doing your best to stand beneath her in case she falls, but knowing there won’t always be soft landings.
There are still so many milestones to hit, but gone are the days of walking and talking. Now, you see things looming like a driver’s license and graduations. There will be firsts; a car, an apartment and probably, most unfortunately, heartbreak.
There will be triumphs and mistakes and though they will affect you more than any you have ever experienced, they will not be your own. Your heart will beat, but you can not contain it.
This is what it’s like to see your child turn sixteen. Unbelievable pride and love combined with disbelief at the swift passage of time. It’s happiness and excitement for the future and an aching and longing for the past.
But, more than anything, it’s pure joy in seeing a kind, funny, smart, beautiful soul come into her own. It’s years of your life which have exceeded all expectations. She has exceeded all expectations. And, now she’s sixteen.
Happy birthday, Goose. I love you.