When you have a baby, the only thing you’re thinking about is baby stuff. Tiny clothes that fit into tiny drawers and massive bags that make you into a pack mule any time you leave the house. (How can such a small person demand such an amazing amount of luggage?) At a stretch you register them in pre-school, or in big school if you drive a LandRover and live somewhere posh. And then suddenly, before you blink, you look around and she’s turning 21.
My first-born turns 21 tomorrow. I had her in the days before warmed baby wipes, hooter hiders or pacifier spritzers. (You need none of these, ladies.) I’m so disappointed not to be with her on her birthday this year (but I was happily with her last year). She lives in Sydney and I’m thousands of miles away in Colorado. But we’ll Skype as usual, and probably even use Facebook chat in my early morning/her late evening as we do a few days each week. This post is an open celebration of my pride for my daughter, and a very big burst of recognition of the love and connection we share. How blessed am I?!
I had just turned 22 when you were born after a long day of labour. I’ve told you the story of your birth every year on this day, and this year will be no different. You know my head and my heart. You are my strength and my joy. We share so many personality traits, so many quirky features, and a love of irreverent humour, often at our own expense.
When you were 2 you had a hernia operation. We prepared well, and you did brilliantly. A few stitches and at 10am home from hospital you came, only to be jumping off the couch by 3pm playing. (Be still my heart, thank goodness those stitches held.)
As you grew, you took more and more responsibility around the house, helping with your little brothers. You treat everyone around you with respect, and are always conscious of people’s feelings. You have a good sense of justice, and a strong will to provide others with opportunities to shine. You celebrate the successes of all, and are dismayed by sorrow, no matter who it is suffered by.
Throughout your school years you worked hard. You put up with my humour, especially with the notes to the teachers as to why your hat was absent (“Rebecca’s head grew strangely during the holidays, like Violet’s body in Willy Wonka, and her hat no longer fits”), the notes I’d slip into some of your lunches, or the ones I’d stick on your door for the HAZMAT team I was sure would be arriving any day. I love that you have the same sense of humour, and that your wonderful boyfriend is now experiencing the freak show that is our hilarious reality. (Getting him all these Stig-inspired gifts for every occasion is still giving me the giggles.)
You are strong and courageous. I love how you decided to forego university and instead step into the world. You gained an understanding of who you are and completed your Real Estate licensure. You gained your own position by walking in off the street with a resume in hand, convinced the agency (who wasn’t advertising for anyone) to interview you and then demonstrated to them how incredibly valuable and smart you are by having them hire you and promote you within a few months. I knew you were that good – how proud I am that you are able to demonstrate it to others.
I am amazed by your brilliant talents in so many areas. Your cosplay work, Ardella Cosplay, is spectacular. Not only are you a fantastic artist, but you are a brilliant communicator, able to speak with your fans of all kinds (yes even the crazy weirdo ones) with respect and friendliness. That is a real talent, obtained by few.
The way you know my heart when it’s crying is incomprehensible to me. When my fear of the dentist overwhelmed me, you came along and sat with me. The only part of me you had access to while the dentist worked was my foot. As tears rolled down my cheeks and my tooth was being fixed, I could feel you holding my toe. I love that you will always hold my toe.
You have always been very close to your grandparents. I love how loving and caring you are with Sir, and how brilliantly loving you were for Granny, both before she was ill and during her passing. I could not be more grateful or proud.
Rebecca, as you turn 21, I want to thank you. Not just thank you, but really, really Thank You.
I would not be the person I am today with you. As a mother I could not be more proud or grateful to have you as my daughter. You exceed all my wishes. You fill me with delight. I love watching your star rise and shine, and seeing you happy and glowing. I pray your life continues on this wonderful path, and that you find nothing but joy, peace, love and brilliance all around you. Just as you show the same to the world.
I love you heaps and heaps – even more than King Julian. (We both know I REALLY Love King Julian.) YOU ROCK.