I was reminded of this today on Ryanne’s 16th birthday. My dog and I waited outside her school to surprise her with flowers and helium balloons attached to his collar. As soon as Milo heard Ryanne’s voice he took off like a madman to greet her. In the process one of the balloon strings tangled itself around the side mirror, broke off and flew away. As she and I watched it go, I was reminded of the angels and how today they get to celebrate with me.
What a day to celebrate!!! My baby is 16 years old. It seems like just yesterday we took Austin out to dinner on the eve of Ryanne’s birthday. It would be the last day we were a family of three. I was as excited as a five year old on Christmas Eve who still believes in Santa. I had a 7 am appointment the next morning to meet my second child.
When the doctor pulled her out of my womb she was this glorious 10 lb 6 oz baby. It was no wonder my previous C-section scar ached for the last several weeks of my pregnancy. My dad would jokingly say how the hospital needed to send her home with a training bra.
She was a wonderful baby. She was calm and easy going. She smiled all the time, even when she had an upset tummy. Inevitably after every meal she would spit up everything she had just consumed. When we visited my parents in their all-white home my mom would tell me “Don’t bring her on the carpet. Keep her on the tile.” Nice mom. :)
As Ryanne grew into her toddler years she developed some spunk and became tough as nails. When she fell down and hit her head on the wall everyone waited for the toddler wail, but she would only shake her head and continue on without pause.
Many women envision what it will be like to have a little girl. I was no exception. I imagined dressing my little girl in pink and purple ruffles and tiaras. I pictured beautiful bonding moments of brushing and braiding her hair just the way I wanted. I believed our ideas of style, behavior and mannerisms would be shared in harmony.
At some point she sent me the notification, this would not be the case. She was not a miniature me. She was an independent being with ideas and dreams of her own. At first it was little whispers of independence, “I will NOT wear the outfit you picked out.” Instead she would wear flower pajama nightgowns over striped pants and the princess high heels I purchased from Target. Who gives a damn if it’s a windy and rainy Seattle day?? She sure as hell didn’t, but I did.
I fought tooth and nail to fit her into my mold. She fought tooth and nail to break it.
When I told Ryanne to smile nice for a family picture she would whip out some crazy face expression and ‘ruin’ the shot. I’d say, “Ryyyyyaaaannnne. Stopppp! Smile nice.” When she wore something I didn’t approve of I’d ask her to change outfits into something else.
As a parent you have many proud moments, but then you have PROUD moments. One of the proudest moments for me as a parent is when Ryanne received the part of Wendy in her middle school production of Peter Pan. She was beautiful and talented, and my heart swelled with admiration and pride. During one of the evening productions I volunteered and helped backstage. It was then I realized how much I wished I was like her, not the opposite
No, Ryanne is not me. She is her own beautiful self. She is my daughter, and my hero.
She is gorgeous, kind, smart, talented, spunky and brave. She is unique. She is loved.
With balloons and love in our heart, the angels and I celebrate Ryanne today and every day.
Happy 16th Birthday my darling.