I promised myself I would go to bed tonight and not get started writing. Although late night seems to be when the emotions and words start flowing. I was leaving you messages to wake up to on your computer, wishing you a happy 21st birthday. And I got emotional. And sad. And full of disbelief at how fast 21 years have flown by. You were my practice child. The kid they put in my arms and said you can take her home now. I looked at you and said are they kidding? I don’t know what to do now!!!! Clueless but in love with the most beautiful precious child, and of course, your special Daddy. And a few cats that were totally freaked out by you. You were worth every minute of 21 1/2 hours of labor, including 2 1/2 hours of pushing. Ouch. You were a difficult first child. You did sleep a few hours fairly early on, but you were cranky a good majority of the rest of the time. We’d turn the fan on over the stove to make noise, turn the fan on in the bathroom and put you in a baby seat on top of the dryer to get you to stop crying. Desperate times call for desperate measures! Hey at least we never put you in the dryer 🙂 We drove around a lot at night to try and get you to sleep. But somehow we endured, moved across country and ventured along as a family of three. I was the first in my family to breastfeed and I loved every minute of it, having nursed you in about every place imaginable (all tactfully covered of course).
I did some part time work along with staying at home with you for those first 2 years. Then I went back to work full-time and you went into daycare. Tough 2 years until we had Joshua and we all came back home for a few months until I started working part-time as a music minister in Gibsonville, NC. Then I became the only person in my family to homeschool. I’m such a trendsetter! Thirteen years later you graduated from Providence Christian Academy and I cried. Three years after that and you have a beau and the prospect of a new life with the man of your dreams sometime in the near future. So I might as well get used to the tears. I’m not ready for that one.
We have spent so much precious time together because of our journey through adoption and tragedy and heartbreak. I could not have made it without your maturity and belief that together we could handle anything. This process of letting you go has been a gradual one. I don’t like it, thank you very much. But I’m doing it, one step at a time. I am so proud of you for your strength and will and strong opinions (no, seriously). You are not swayed by the world’s opinions but have your own mind and conscience. You are so much like your Daddy, but thank goodness you look like me! I treasure it every time someone tells me that. Because I think you’re beautiful and amazing and totally mine. Until I have to share you forever. I have prayed for you and your spouse for 21 years and I believe in a gracious God who loves you so much more than I can imagine. And I trust Him to be real and personal in your decisions. And be real to me as I grieve over the loss of my “baby” and watch as my young adult marches into her future with strength and clarity. Just remember I will always be here for you, cheering for you and praying for you with all that is in me. Happy 21st my precious daughter.