Seriously. Have you met my daughter?
This past Saturday my daughter turned the Big Five. Five, people. Five.
All sarcasm, cynicism, whatever aside, I am simply beside myself that 1) I even have a daughter, 2) she's been in my life for f-i-v-e years, and 3) she's the astoundingly amazing little person that she is and that I get to be her mother.
I remember the ride home from the hospital with my Hope, four days after she was born via c-section. (She decided to go breech three weeks before her due date. Thanks, kid.) I was riding in the backseat, next to where she was tucked into her carseat. She had finally stopped screaming - she started blaring as loud as a siren as soon as we put her in the carseat in the hospital room before we departed. Pretty sure she was begging the hospital staff not to let us take her home with us. ("Don't you know these people have never ever EVER dealt with a newborn before?!" or something to that effect...)
But, by time we'd gotten her to the car, she had settled down and, who knows, more or less accepted her fate. I, too, sat there in that back seat, silenced, oblivious to the world around me, not even aware that the car was moving or that my husband was excitedly chattering on about Hope.
I wasn't smitten with Hope the way my husband was. He was in love. I was in awe. Complete and utter awe. Speechless, dazzled, amazed at her and her little world and what her little world was like.
Pure. Free. Bright. Perfect. Full of wonder. Full of hope. So much hope.
I believe that most mothers (okay, and fathers) grow just as much from the time of a child's birth (and, I even dare say, conception!) as the child does. As parents we are the ones who are supposed to teach our children, to enlighten them. As much as I can only hope I've fulfilled my duty of enlightening and engaging my daughter in the ways of this world, I'm certain she's the one who has done the most teaching.
And though all children come into the world with that certain amount of unabashed curiosity and energy, this is where Hope differs. That curiosity, energy, determination and freedom is still going strong when the same force it had from the moment she entered this world. She endures with this combination of fuel, running on all cylinders and never choosing to run or live on less.
It's that strength, that unhindered endurance and ability to continually carry such optimism and wonder and confidence that has taught me the most. Because here's a little girl, who at the age of three received a nice two-inch gash in the back of her head (from a smooth slide, no less), bled all over the place, and then proceeded to tell the fireman that she was "done" with sitting on the counter and wanted to return to playing (while still bleeding profusely). And the next day, after having spent four hours in the ER (two of which were spent on that back board with her head strapped to it), she tells my sister "that was fun yesterday at the hospital."
Fun?! So maybe sometimes she's more stubborn than strong.
Doesn't matter. Hope is still the most amazing girl. And when she reaches that age where stupidity, I mean, hormones and a conscience set in, I'll be there to remind her of that beauty she holds inside, that strength, optimism, wonder, whimsy - that absolute beauty that makes her Hope. In fact, I'll be spending every day until and after those days reminding her. Because she is nothing less.
"February's child: I reflect. I am silent. I sparkle. I praise.
I am peaceful. I notice. I wish. I amaze."