You have a baby, and everybody tells you, “Enjoy it; it goes so fast!” and you’re enjoying it, but you’re also living the day-to-day blur of diapers, sippy cups, lullabies, preschool decisions, homework help, and curfew arguments, and then one day you realize that all those people were right. It goes so fast. Faster than you could have imagined.
But it’s not sad. Sure, it’s a little bittersweet, because once upon a time this girl, my Abbie, was milk-drunk and heavy in my arms. She was a flurry of opinions, a blizzard of words, a soft request for me to rock her, to read her a book while she went to sleep. She was a halo of ginger curls over wildly pumping legs when she ran to meet me at the end of her preschool day. But it’s not sad because Abbie is still Abbie.
She’s 18 today. 18! It’s been a long time since she asked me to rock her to sleep and those ginger curls submit to the application of chemicals and appliances, but she is herself. She could never be anyone but herself, and she is extraordinary.
Happy birthday, girlie. I love you big big big.