My girl. Today is your 13th birthday. I can’t believe you would be a teenager. It’s hard to fathom that I am the mom to a 13-year-old. Where did the years go?
To be able to celebrate with you, would be my first wish. To see your adorable smile, your mischievous glances and determined mindset, would be the honor of my life.
Today I am filled with wishes and wonder as I think about the years that have passed. I wish I could experience with you all the fun and trials that the teenage years bring. School, boys, and endless activities. I wish I could teach you, laugh with you, and show you the world. I wish it wasn’t massively painful to see your friends growing up, reaching milestones that you will never achieve. I look with envy as an outsider to a world I used to know. Doing so plunges me into a world of emotional wonder.
As I imagine you with long golden strawberry blond hair, I wonder if you would still be determined to wear it just
how you like. Would we share clothes? Would we like the same kind of music?
Would you still wear headbands, or would that be too “childish?” Would you wear lipstick, makeup, and have your ears pierced?
Would you still love your little brother to pieces and take great delight in teasing him?
Would you still have that infectious personality, lighting up a room when you walked in, proudly dressed in mismatched clothes?
Would you have sleepovers, still be sassy yet loveable and wear your heart on your sleeve?
Would we still argue over the television remote? Would you still love to read? Still love to sing and dance? Or would you be using your creative mind to make more magnificent art work?
Would you still want to be a fighter fighter (fire fighter) and a chocolate shopper (work at a coffee stand)?
My heart will never heal and the tears I cry are loaded with unending love as they slowly fall down my face and onto my shirt. You will always be my girl, my first child who made me a mother. I will carry you with me forever.
Instead of me teaching you what life is all about, my sweet child you have taught me.
If I could do it over again…
I would have lingered while reading your bedtime story, taking my time carefully articulating the words on each page, spent more time snuggled with you on your pink princess pillow, and let you keep the boogers on your wall above your headboard.
I would have played endless hours of dress up with you, dolling up in fancy jewelry, high heels and dresses…
I would have watched your silly TV shows more, played limitless games of candy land and hopscotch, and spent hours drawing on the patio with colorful chalk until the sun went down.
I would have laughed instead of getting angry when you called your great grandma to tell her your parents were arguing because daddy took mommy’s debit card away.
I would have paid closer attention to you when you were telling stories of the tooth fairy and giggled a little more when you called me your evil stepmother after watching Cinderella and was told to go to bed.
I would have spent hours making the perfect snowman and sledding down the street, and not come in just because I didn’t want to play anymore.
I would have stayed in that movie theatre longer, watching Kung Fu Panda with you observing your every move, listening to you loudly crunch popcorn, smiling as you laughed out loud, if I would have known it would be our last.
I would have taken you to the coffee shops for hot chocolate and cinnamon rolls every morning, even after you would mock me in the backseat of the car with your sunglass and sassy attitude.
I would have laughed more when you overflowed the toilet creating a swampy lake in the downstairs bathroom, and the time you “cleaned up” the dogs mess by putting newspaper over it and then I stepped on it, causing it to squish out the sides of my bare feet.
I would have listened more intently when you talked about God and attempted to lure me to church when I didn’t feel like going.
I would have made more cookies with you, messing up the kitchen and decorating it with scattered cookie cutters, covering the counters with flour and frosting.
I remember the last time you got your haircut, several inches gone revealed a new you. Your little sprinkle of freckles adorned the bridge of your nose, and your blue eyes twinkled in the light. I remember how you tried to convince me to cut my hair off too and I said no. Now I wish I had.
As a little girl, I always wanted to have a daughter, someone to navigate this life with side by side, being a parent and a friend. I used to imagine what our life would be like going shopping together, cooking, getting our nails done and sharing experiences as well as the cherished ups and downs of life.
I will never forget the last time you painted my nails, bright pink with baby blue sparkly dots on them. The two jars of polish still sit on my bathroom counter, as a reminder. I’m sad to say, I have not painted my fingernails since then. It may sound strange or crazy, but that last memory together, is so preciously sacred that it is something I want to keep just between us. I can still say after seven years, that “The last person to paint my fingernails was Lydia.” And that is something to treasure.
You have shown me what it means to love so deeply that it can literally break your heart. If I would have known these times would have been our last, I would have spent more time making memories and savoring every minute. I would have realized that moments matter. Memories matter.
Nonetheless, I am left with an empty place deep down, a void that will never be filled, wondering, waiting, yet living in the moment and treasuring every day, seeking the beauty each sunrise brings, all the while keeping you alive in my heart.