Sixteen years ago I gave birth to the most beautiful and wonderful little girl ever in the history of little baby girls.
I was a typical first time pregnant mom. I took my prenatal vitamin. I followed the doctor's instructions exactly. I took birthing classes. I drank cranberry juice every day in hopes to get a baby with hair. I bought the cutest, softest, sweetest baby clothes and washed them in Dreft. I sterilized EVERYTHING. I studied "What to Expect when You are Expecting." It was never far from me for 9 month. I researched everything baby using the library's copy of Consumer Reports. This was before the internet. I made sure we had the safest car seat, stroller, pack n play, bottles, binki's, swing... My bag was packed months before I was ever going to need it. I was determined to give our baby the best possible start in the world that I could.
I was in labor with her for about 12 hours. It was hard labor. I didn't get an epidural. I was determined not to because our birthing class teacher said it wasn't good for the baby. I'll never forget seeing that squirmy, bloody, gooey baby for the first time and hearing her cry and knowing she was mine forever. You mom's...you know.
And today she is 16.
Now I don't worry about her hair anymore. She does it beautifully. I don't pick out clothes for her anymore. In fact, I know that if I see something that I like, she will hate it. I don't need Dreft. She washes her own clothes. Instead of baby books, I read articles online by Denise Witmer at parentingteens.about.com. I no longer worry about her car seat and binki...I now worry about her driving a car, dating a boy, peer pressure and the "c" word. College.
To be honest, though, I don't worry that much. Emily has grown to be a very responsible, very careful, very wonderful young woman. I am really proud of her. She has done an incredible job building on that first foundation that Chris and I provided for her. And as she has grown, we have provided opportunities for her to develop her talents. I know that Chris and I have done our best to give her all the tools she will need to be successful in her life. We have continued to provide her with a good foundation. We have never stopped planning and providing and praying and working and cheering for her.
While my heart aches and my eyes grow wet with tears at the thought of her leaving home in just a few short years, I know she will be successful because of who she is and where she came from.
Emily, I couldn't be prouder of you and who you are. Happy Sweet 16!