From the moment I got pregnant with my first baby, we have been marking milestones in her life. From the first ultrasound, the first time I felt her move inside me, her birth, her first smile all the way up to her first day of nursery school, I have been marking the passage of time in my daughter’s life. And it has gone by so fast. Even though the first year went by in a haze of sleep-deprived days and nights (can you see the exhaustion on my face?), I still feel like almost no time has gone by since that moment of joy when I realized I was going to be a mom.
Caylie is a force to be reckoned with in our family. She inspires us, challenges us, surprises us, makes us laugh, cry, scream, love and sometimes long for the days when we were still childless. But as much as I may joke about it, I wouldn’t trade her for a thing. She is fearless and fearsome in her intensity. She is driven and emotional and compassionate. She is curious and imaginative and creative. When I look at her, I see myself. Not just the mini version of myself when I look in the mirror. I see the ferocity of spirit that has taken me so far in my life. I see the enormous heart that has brought me both pain and immense love in my life. Sometimes it scares me to see so much of myself in her because I’d like to shield her from the difficulties ahead. It’s not easy being a sensitive soul.
We have come so far from all those “firsts” in her babyhood. I keep hearing how crazy it is that we as a society seem to celebrate anything and everything, up to and including graduation from every grade. My response is this: It may be crazy, but those celebrations are sometimes more for the parents than the kids. We need these times to celebrate. Every year of parenthood has its own challenges. And if you get to end the completion of another year with a celebration, what’s wrong with that?
Today my daughter Caylie graduated from her preschool. The kids sang us their favorite songs and all twelve students were awarded a special award. Caylie was presented with the Most Artistic Award. When she got down from the stage with her award, I gave her her very first bouquet of flowers. I’m very proud of her. I’m also feeling bittersweet. My baby is growing up.