My daughter is growing up.
Ten years ago, I'd been in labor for eighteen hours by the time B was born at just before 2 a.m. I was sooooo ready to be a mom. I'd wanted to be a mom my whole life. I'd been through miscarriage after miscarriage. It had taken years for us to get pregnant. Then, B was born... and she never cried. I was exhausted but something felt wrong... but I was so tired. When I woke up after an exhausted couple hours sleep they were already preparing to transport her by ambulance. She'd never cried because she was born with an air pocket in her lung that collapsed it. I didn't even see her again before they'd taken her to a different hospital to a NICU.
The only way for me to see her again was for me to check out... I was out of the hospital by 7 a.m. that same morning and on my way to see my baby.
(By the way, checking out that soon after a long labor and delivery is a bad idea... just so you know. The NICU was on the seventh floor in this other hospital. I remember the elevator going up and I nearly smacked the floor as I just about passed out from vertigo. We're talking... I was sure I'd stayed on the first floor and fallen through the floor levels of vertigo. Maybe in third world countries and classic books they're out there in the fields right after having given birth, but, dudes, it ain't pretty.)
There is a weird sense of reality when your dreams tip on their sides and spill out across your life. It happened that day when my daughter was immediately taken to a different hospital after what had seemed like a regular first delivery. It happened again when the doctor told us she wasn't hearing-impaired but that he suspected she had regressive Autism. It happened over and over as I've grown as a mother and my dreams have changed as my daughter has changed them.
I didn't think I could be as strong and brave as I am, but my daughter has made me that way. I would have guessed some of my realities today might have crushed me if you'd told me about them ten years ago.
It started that first time I opened my eyes as a mother, and they said my daughter was in an ambulance and on her way to a different hospital... and I could either stay and recover or get up and leave the hospital WAY too soon. (Dudes, it was way too soon... I had vertigo for nearly a year and not just in EVERY elevator... it was all the time.) (BTW, B was given pure oxygen and her lung's pocket resolved itself and her stay in NICU was only a few days.)
From that day on, I've done crazy things to be the mother my daughter needed. I've failed in so many way... but in the important ways, I haven't.
Today, B is a beautiful girl on her way to being a beautiful woman. Today, she is ten.
In ten years, I've become a fighter... a crazy, ambitious, loving, frazzled, and less-than-perfect fighter. My daughter has taught me that. Sometimes, you have to do the crazy thing to be the right person for the best person to ever whisper into your life on a May morning in 2001.
Happy birthday, B. Thanks to you the ladybugs found their voice and learned to roar a long time ago. Love, Mom.