I knew you before I met you. That’s how this precious, undefinable thing called motherhood works.
I should have known you would be a night owl, you were born an hour before the clock struck midnight. The next morning as I waited for you to be brought to me I heard the clickety-clack of tiny bassinet wheels growing louder as they neared my room. As each one went past. Then another, my heart began to dart wildly around the room. “Where was my baby girl and why aren’t they bringing her to me?” I worried. This couldn’t be happening a second time. God wouldn’t allow this to happen again like it did with your brother – would he? And then the doctor appeared saying your nurse was extra busy, and that you were perfectly fine. But I secretly suspect they were checking you out extra carefully because of your brother. Then you were placed in my arms, your little head fit in the curve of my neck as if it was made for just that, and I fell in love all over again. Dad arrived shortly after and I watched his heart crumble into you bit by bit as he held you in his big hands. That is your beginning.
And now you’re exiting your twenties. Look at you my baby girl – you’re turning thirty! But before you fully embrace thirty. Take a moment. Turn around and glance back at your twenty-something years – they taught you a lot. You graduated from college and learned to live on your own quite well. You made mistakes along the way and realized they wouldn’t break you, but only grow you. You became an even more independent woman. You tested your hands at perfecting your cooking skills. You traveled. Unfortunately, you learned how unpredictable life can be when you lost your brother – your only sibling. You then learned a new kind of sadness. You also learned a new kind of strength. And love. That is your history so far.
You enter your thirties wiser because of your twenties. And still, you know not what you’re capable of. That is your power.
Your humor and your humility overwhelm my heart at times. And speaking of hearts, yours runs deep. Your diverse circle of friends tells me so. You’ve always been a ‘what you see is what you get’ kind of woman who lives her life by being real. That is your truth and your beauty all at once.
People will pass in and out of your life. Continue to take care of each and every soul. Remember the ones who have been there for you when you were in need. And even more importantly, remember the ones who were there to cheer you on – the ones who celebrated you and your successes. Now. Put the people who were there for both under one kind-hearted, flexible roof. Love them. Help them. Cheer for them. That is your tribe.
Then there are the people related to you by blood. The ones who have known you as long as you’ve been in this world. You not only share blood, but similarities that have been passed down through generations. Things both good and bad you’ve inherited through no choice of your own. And traditions that only we get. Love them unconditionally. That is your family.
Listen. Quietly and softly, the way a flower tips in the direction of the sun and then becomes the light. Listen again. This time, loudly and fiercely, the way pouring rain nourishes those same flowers to grow. Always listen to your intuition as often and as carefully as you listen to others. Be aware of its high and low tides. That is your wisdom.
Continue to celebrate diversity. Grow. Be wild in love and learning. Practice kindness daily – to yourself and others. Thrive. Exercise your mind and your body. Travel in and out of yourself. Rest. Open your heart’s door and receive sadness the same way you do joy. Look them both square in the eye and know where they came from and why. Breathe. Discard words like perfect and ego – they’re as useless as a mirage in the desert. Forgive. And please, dance wildly through this one life. That is your joy.
Happy Birthday to you sweet daughter. I can’t wait to see what you do with your thirties. We love you. Always and forever. Without borders or boundaries, in ways that words can’t ever say or define. That is how much you are loved.