The daughter now likes jewelry and Barbie: but adolescence looms large on the horizon.
Published in the Nashville Eye Column of The Tennessean, April 3, 1995.
Recently, at our oldest daughter’s 10th birthday party, I listened in as her circle of friends shared their opinions about the gifts Crystal received. Barbie was still in, but other dolls were out. Clothes were becoming more important, and jewelry was on everyone’s wish list. The conversation turned to which boys they thought were cute in their school and whose music they liked best.
All the signs were there: Adolescence wa on the horizon, and I knew were on the brink of something big. I could see that my little girl was quickly blossoming into a beautiful young lady.
Crystal was becoming more responsible and independent. She started asking for the car keys so she could put them in the ignition to turn on the engine. For the time being, she was content to do that. But I knew that in the not-so-distant future, she would replace me in the driver’s seat.
So, I was well aware of what we were facing, but I knew she was not. I wanted to find a way to tell her to stop for a minute, because the years were passing too quickly. I watned her to know that it is great to be a kid, but it was OK to gruw up as well.
On the morning of her birthday, I wrote her a letter. After reading it, I held her for a long time while tears filled my eyes. She gave me a look that said, “I don’t understand all of this now, but I know I will someday.”
Then, she had to get ready for school. As I dropped her off, I watched her enter into her fourth grade world — a world that felt ready to take on high heels, panty hose and earrings. A world where the opinions of friends were becoming as important as the opinion of parents.
I pulled the car over and opened the letter, hoping that one day it would mean as much to her as it did to me.
“Exactly 10 years ago today at 5:37 in the morning, a littel angel came into my life. It’s difficult to describe all the things I was feeling at the time, but I clearly remember the doctor laying you on my chest for me to hold you. Your eyes were trying so hard to stay open under the bright lights. I ran my finger over your fuzzy little eyebrows. You had a head full of long black hair.
“Your Daddy’s first words to you were ‘Hello, Crystal Faith.” Soon he carried you down the hall to the nursery and I was left think about things.
“I kept saying to myself, ‘Wow, I’m a Mom.’
“Sometimes, I still say that same thing over and over again,. Being a mom is a pretty tough job. But I can honestly say that nothing makes me more proud or gives me more joy than my family. I feel honored that you came to share your life with me.
“Both of our lives have changed drastically since that day 10 years ago. You have learned to walk, talk, sing, dance, do cartwheels, tell long stories, do homework, ride your bike, skate, read, do long division problems, play dress-up, play Barbies, give hugs, use the phone, take a shower, get yourself dressed, put up your clothes (occasionally) and fix your hair.
“So, you can see that you have come a long way in thes last 10 years. It has made me so proud to watch you grow from being one of the most beautiful babies I have ver seen into the lovely young lady that you are today. You are kind, considerate, smart, and you work extremely hard in school. You love everyone around you. You are the best big sister in the world, and one of the best daughters as well.
“As we travel together into whatever lies ahead of us, I want you to remember this: Always believe in yourself and that God has a plan for your life. You are capable of doing anything you want to do. And finally, I want you to understand that you are loved more than you will ever realize. You are special. You are appreciated. Your Daddy and I are on your side.
“So, keep smiling, my birthday girl. Try to laugh every day and enjoy yourself. The best is yet to come.
“I love you with all my heart, soul and mind.
Mom, (formerly known as Mommy)