Sunday, August 8, 2010


This can't be right. I am having a hard time believing that you are fourteen. Why does fourteen sound and feel so much older than thirteen? I cannot reconcile the picture of you in my head with the reality of the you in front of me.

In my head, you are a newborn with a cap of light hair, a sweet little bow of a mouth, long fingers, and paddles for feet. I should have known then that we would never be able to share shoes.

In my head, you are still colicky and shunning a pacifier, instead insisting on sucking on my pinkie. I had visions of having to go everywhere with you because of your aversion to pacifiers. But eventually you were persuaded to take a pacifier and I was able to reclaim my hand.

In my head, you are 18 months old, impatiently kicking my seat while we sit at a stoplight. "GOOOOOO!!!!" you yell. "GO!" It is no use explaining stop lights to you. You are insistent upon being obeyed.

In my head, you are a pig-tailed two year old, saying goodbye to your first crush, our neighbor Frank, as we left Minnesota bound for Indy.

In my head, you are three, crawling up on the footstool and looking into your baby brother's crying eyes and asking "Hey Dames! Whas da madder to Damesie-boy?"

In my head, you are 6, standing in front of the little tree in the front yard of our first Indy house and having your picture made on the first day of Kindergarten. You are anxious but excited. You are looking forward to school. That has not changed all these years.

In my head, you are 10, holding my hand and crying while you get your ears pierced. Yes, the girl who hates shots and shuns needles needed to get her ears pierced. You laughed through your tears and were proud of yourself for your bravery.

In my head , you are 12, and we are crying together--along with your brothers and sister--as we drive out of our old neighborhood. We had just done a final "goodbye" walk-through of our old house. We had said goodbye to neighbors that we loved. We looked forward to the new house but we were sad too. "This is the only house I remember," you said. "I grew up in this house." This time I laughed through my tears at your calling yourself grown up.

And now. Now you are fourteen. And some days I can still see the little girl in you. I see it in the way you giggle. I see it in the times that you get goofy with your friends and your siblings. I see it when you snuggle up next to me on the couch. I see it when I look in on you at night as you sleep and I whisper prayers over you.

But most days, I see the young woman you are becoming. I see your intelligence and good sense. I see your blooming independence. I see the bonds you have made with your friends and the way you treat them with respect. I see how you are able, most of the time, to overcome your annoyance with siblings who get in your stuff and your business and treat them kindly. I see how you are, quite rightly, growing away from your father and I, and I pray.

I pray for your present--for the every day stresses and temptations that come your way. But I also pray for your future: for the people who will enter your life and influence you, for your future spouse, for your safety. But mostly the prayers I offer up are prayers of thanksgiving. I am so very grateful to God for giving me you for a daughter.

Happy birthday, Peach. You are my favorite Maggie!

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