Today (March 13) is my oldest child’s 21st birthday. Yes, to some degree, the fact my oldest child is now of legal age to purchase alcoholic beverages makes me feel old. But not nearly as old as I will feel when my youngest child obtains his driving permit next December.
Caitlin Rose Turner was born in the mid-afternoon after less than 8 hours of artificially induced labor. (My OB/GYN was concerned that I wouldn’t make it the 1.5 hours from my house to Aspen Valley Hospital.) She weighed 6 lbs., 10.5 oz., and was 19.5 inches long. A “peanut,” the nurses said. My husband and I were all of 20 years old, younger than my daughter is now.
She was a spitfire from the get-go, but the perfect, ideal “starter baby.” Completely clueless as a parent (I had never even changed a diaper before she was born), she and I engaged in frequent battles of will from early on. I clearly remember dragging her away from the dog food bowl, attempting to distract her, and then watching her scramble back to the kibble on her hands and knees, laughing.
I expected too much. Demanded too much. I know that now. (Hindsight, you know.)
Again and again, she rose to the level of my expectations, and exceeded them. An excellent student (homeschooled from 6th grade on) she blasted through her ACT exam (beating my own combined score by one point) and aced her online college classes. She got married at 18, with her parents’ blessing, and charged into adulthood. Her first ever airplane ride (and her hubby’s) was out of the country, to Mexico, for their honeymoon.
Last year she finished the required work to receive her associate’s degree in early childhood education, wrapping up her finals in the same month she gave birth to her first child, Talen Liam Walker, who turned my life upside down all over again. The girl-child who made me a mother has now made me a grandma, and will bless me twice in September with grandbaby #2. There is, I am convinced, no greater blessing for a parent.
But it’s not her ability to procreate that amazes me, or her skills in household management, or holding down a job while caring for her husband and little one … It’s her boundless creativity, imagination, spiritual insight, and sense of humor. She has her own blog now (www.walkerwhimsy.com) where she shares her adventures in parenting, her craft projects, and a dose of wit and inspiration that never fail to make me laugh out loud (LOL, for the un-textiated.)
If your babies are still small, demanding, exhausting, and you feel overwhelmed, believe me, the reward is worth the sleep deprivation, the frustration, the confusion, and the generalized state of terror. The result of all those crazy parenting maneuvers is well worth the challenge!
Happy birthday, Caiti Rose… I am SO proud of you, for so many reasons! You continue to amaze me every day!