27 February 2015
She’s your last baby and she’s turning into a petite little lady. Words can’t describe the force of your love. Eleven years ago today, you lay in a hospital bed thinking, “I’m too old for this.” Eleven years ago today you met the love of your life.
She redeemed you. She gave you something to live for each day, in those darkest hours, when you felt you had no impact and nothing left to offer the world, she smiled and made you feel needed. Her body fit so perfectly into the crook of your left arm. Her hair smelled of baby and blankie and binkies. She embodied patience and good nature, tolerated siblings’ lessons and games, witnessed more grief than any child ought to at that age. You love your older boys, too, don’t get me wrong, but she holds her own place in your pantheon of excellent children.
You aren’t naïve enough to believe there won’t be a rift, probably within the next couple of years. For now, though, you two have achieved that amazing balance of mutual interests and trust. You hug frequently, express affection at every turn, set goals together and meet them. If only this moment could go on forever!
She looks like your clone, but she’s more advanced than you were at her age. You envy her, to be honest. She has an assuredness and attitude you didn’t possess at eleven. She likes to perform, to create, and to assert herself in public. She’s lithe and active, inquisitive and precocious. You discovered none of those things about yourself until you were well in your 30s.
She’s manifested some aspects of you you’re especially proud of: compassion, fairness, determination, resilience, and open-mindedness. Like you were at her age, she’s also a nerd—the difference is, these days it’s apparently cool to be one, and she revels in it. Like you, she loves music, culture, and art. In today’s world, she can become almost anything she wants.
You celebrate your daughter, even as you regret your wide difference in age. You wish you could be certain of seeing the woman she will be at 50, but the truth is you can’t. In fact, it’s frightening to think you’ll be happy to know her when she is 40. No, best to put aside such solemn musings. Best to focus on the person she is now: a soon-to-be middle schooler, a talented dancer, an avid reader, and a gorgeous diva who today is turning eleven.
Happy birthday, luce mia, tesoro mio, vita mia. Happy birthday, my lovely, brilliant daughter. This is your soundtrack.
To read more of Colleen’s letters, click here!