Friday, September 1, 2006

The First September 1st

You’ve heard the expression, “She didn’t know what hit her.” That describes the beginning of my first labor pains—I didn’t know what was hitting me! By the time my husband and I had figured it out, we were glad the hospital wasn’t farther away. Several hours later the most beautiful baby in the world—up until that time at least—made her first cries. Her father and I fell in love with her at that moment, and we’ve never fallen out.

She looked so much like her dad that he and I both began to laugh when we saw her. The same chin exactly, with the dimple.

I was 23 years old, a baby myself, and my husband was only a few weeks older. We had been through childbirth classes, read books and listened to stories, but we knew nothing. I repeat, nothing. The Beautiful Baby began tutoring us, her sometimes reluctant pupils, on that September 1st.

We soon discovered that she enjoyed straightening us out. Her way was the only way! She took her role as Firstborn very seriously and would grow into it even more as her younger siblings arrived. She became counselor, teacher, disciplinarian, leader and—dare I admit it?—her mom and dad’s guinea pig.

Now she lives across the country, working at a job I can’t understand and doing things I can only marvel at. To me she’s still like her dad—beautiful blue eyes and determined jaw. The same unmistakable laugh. When I see her, which will probably never be often enough, I stare at her with the same longing, awe and aching love that I felt on that first September first.

I’ve heard that in some ways a child’s birthday means more to the parent than to the child herself. Who knows? Now that she's no longer a teenager, she might not welcome this date every year. But of course, I do. Happy, happy birthday, sweet baby.

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