15 years for Gracie

Dear Gracie, It’s your birthday today and it is difficult to say everything I want to say without mentioning my vagina. Sorry.

During my pregnancy with you, I watched every episode of “A Baby Story” ever made. These episodes were my childbirth classes and I eye guzzled them the way you do Psych in the Summer.

In each and every episode, when the time comes for the mother to begin pushing, doctors and nurses put a great emphasis on the “bearing down” part. They tell the mother to push with all of her might.

I took this shit seriously, Gracie. You will hear your share of birthing nightmare stories in your life. The ones that resinated with me all had versions of the mom pushing for hours. I was not going to let this happen to us, Gracie. There would be no lollygagging.

And so, I pushed the way reality television taught me to. Your departure was so quick. So abrupt, that my body had no time to adjust. You were healthy and well and your papa crying as he held you. More was going on with me, however. Nurses later told me that I had, what they like to call, a “vaginal cesarian section”. This explained the horror on Auntie Buffy’s face as she watched right after you were born.

Naturally I thought of this yesterday as I was picking up some final odds and ends for your birthday gift. As I squatted to the lowest shelf, I yelped in pain so loud, you would have been embarrassed. I was embarrassed too, but I also smirked to myself because I thought of the day you were born.

The bottom line is this, G-love. One day, you’re nursing your newborn daughter while your ass is sitting on an inflatable doughnut. A few blinks later you’re falling on that same ass rollerskating with her at her 15th birthday party. How this happens, I have no idea. But, it does.

This is life, little one. You already know this. You have experienced more loss than any child should experience. Losing your papa at 4 feels like an eternity ago. It feels like yesterday at the same time. You have a neurotic mother who loves you more than anything but who also loves her cats (in costumes). You have obstacles. You have struggles. You worry about the cats and me sometimes, but you go back to school anyway. Your school isn’t an academic cake walk and yet you never complain. You love it and you seem to embrace everything that comes with it. You continue to walk one foot in front of the other. No matter what.

I’m no Buddha, but I’m pretty sure just putting one foot in front of the other is the key to life. You have this part nailed at 15 and it makes me proud and happy and relieved to witness. I will always worry about you, but I do not worry about you. I know you know what I mean.

On your 15th birthday, I am stupefied by serendipity. The serendipity that you were the child that I always wanted and you were the one flew out of my body and into my life. I am the luckiest to be your mom.

Happiest birthday to you, oh daughter of mine. I am grateful for you. I am grateful for every part of you. I’m grateful we got to rollerskate on your birthday instead of a beautiful, but entirely expensive and out of my league Quinceañera. I secretly kind of wanted a Quinceañera.

You are my favorite human ever in the history of the universe forever and always. Amen.

I love you,

PS, Rupert and Javier send their best.

PSS, A caviet. While I am the luckiest, I would be a half of a fraction luckier had not taken a serious life lesson from a reality television show. #LearnFromMommysMistakes, sweet child. Learn from my mistakes.

(photo taken by either Maggie or Katie, two of Gracie’s good friends. They are both humble. Neither one knows who took it)