Today is a very special day. My little Ladybug, my Pooh Bear, my heart, is 21 years old. I can’t explain how I’m feeling inside. All I know is that the unexpected tears keep visiting to disrupt my mascara. This isn’t just one or two tears or a little pool of water welling up in my left eye that I can prevent from falling by tilting my head back. No, this is a hot steady stream of tears that leaves my face a shade of burgundy that I can’t joke and laugh away.
I’m filled with a mixture of joy, pride, excitement, fear, admiration, anxiety, sadness and gratitude. But that’s just the start. You don’t even want to know all questions that stir within me, like:
- Did I do a good job as a single parent?
- Did I teach her well?
- Did I surround her with people that gave her good guidance?
- Did I make the right choices for the both of us?
- Did I encourage and challenge her enough?
- Did I discipline her enough, but not too much?
- Does she know the difference between a pea and a bean?
- Does she know that it’s OK to make mistakes as long as she learns from them and is not a repeat offender?
- When I’m not around, is she still respectful of her elders?
- Does she know that my shoulder is always hers when she needs to cry, my ear is hers when she needs to talk, and my arms are always open when she needs a hug?
- Does she know the magic that lies between a jar of Vaseline and a knot of raw Shea butter?
- Does she know that she’s the best part of me?
I wish she’d known my mother. The family and I have always told her how proud her grandmother Joann was of her little grandbaby. I wish she could remember being held by her, snuggled, kissed, pampered and paraded. My mother would not allow anyone to touch her without first washing their hands. I know, I know…
A few weeks ago, I spoke about the Village that it takes to raise a child in my Mother’s Day blog post. To all of those members of Marti’s Village, “Thank You.”
So here we are, 21 years in the making, and we have ourselves a very creative fashion designer and college student who’s also a patient, loving and compassionate Nanny with a great sense of humor that’s laced with sarcasm. It’s all balanced by responsibility, humility, intelligence and common sense that were all built on a strong Southern foundation of morals, values and self-respect.
To my Marti,
I love you and I am so proud of the young lady you’ve become. You are the best part of me.
Please join me in wishing Marti a Happy Birthday!
Here’s a few images of the Birthday Lady.
(Does anyone else have such a hard time choosing just a few images of your kid?)
A quick update: Since Marti was about a year old, she would pat me on my back when I hugged her. This morning, when she patted me on my back, it turned on some serious waterworks that resulted in tears falling into my coffee (literally) and a wonderful feeling that I can’t quite describe.