At this moment, ten years ago today, I was lying in a hospital room with a monitor around my belly watching pitocin slowly drip into my vein. I had less than five contractions before the doctor made them stop. He then proceeded to tell me that I would be having my baby very soon. Literally. Ten weeks too soon, to be exact.
My firstborn was delivered weighing 2 lbs. 9 oz. and she lost two of those ounces in the first day of her life. Her legs were the diameter of a highlighter, her ears the size of a thumbnail. If you’ve seen a preemie as small as mine, you know that her skin was so thin you could see her veins, and some parts of her body hadn’t even developed yet.
The first time I saw my baby, she had a breathing tube down her throat, an IV in her belly button, and wires covering her tiny frame. She was so, so small and I was absolutely terrified.
But today, on her 10th birthday, she is happy and healthy. She overcame a whole lot of obstacles to get here, but you would never know that her father once held her entire body in one hand. Happy Birthday, sweet girl.
Now I’m faced with the knowledge that in three years I’ll have a teenager, and I find myself absolutely terrified all over again.
Yesterday morning, with family gathered around, my daughter presented my husband with a homemade present…101 Reasons Why I Love My Dad.
The list included, “You fuss about how old I am and tell me I am too big for being tucked in, but you still tuck me in anyway.” And, “You help me with math homework. DON’T TELL MOM I AM WRITING THIS!!!!! You are the only one I can ask for help, because Mom can’t do the math.” Sad, but oh so true.
As my husband read each line, I held my six year old son on my lap and we listened. It was wonderful and sweet, and the kids’ Grandma and I both began to cry.
He read the last item on the list, “You work and try as hard as you can. And you do it just for us.”
Grandma, who was clearly touched by the outpouring of love said, “That was really beautiful.”
And without missing a beat, my son said, “That was really boring.”
My daughter is a master negotiator. It doesn’t matter if I’m telling her to get ready for bed, take a shower, do her homework, or clean her room, she will try to find a way to put it off by making a deal with me.
There is no place where her sales technique is more evident than at the dinner table. She hates vegetables, but loves treats, so she will inevitably request a Hershey’s Kiss in exchange for eating her asparagus.
Recently her little brother started following in her footsteps. But the other night at dinner, it was clear he still had some learning to do, when he complained, “Mom, I’m full.”
I said, “Okay, just take four more bites.”
You could see his brain working as he thought for a second, raised his eyebrows, and asked, “How about five?”