I couldn't do anything to stop it. I tried, but in the end-it was too late.
18 years ago today, you entered my life-a week late. Little did I know this would be your M.O. for all the rest of the days to follow. We had only been married for three weeks. We had just packed up all of our stuff and moved away from family and friends. Not far, maybe 45 miles, but it seemed like we had moved to a different state. We started painting and carpeting the house we bought. We settled Mandy into a new house and a new yard with much more room for her to run. I had quit my job to stay home and be a wife. 3 weeks. I was late. I was like a clock-never late, not once. I had to do our laundry at the laundry mat as our new appliances hadn't been delivered yet. I stopped by the local pharmacy and bought a test. It turned light pink. Dad said maybe I was just a little pregnant. The family couldn't believe it, but in your Dad's family it was the norm. Grandma Baker got pregnant with Grandma Joan on their wedding night. Grandma Joan got pregnant with Uncle Jerry within a week. Us, the day we got home from our honeymoon. Young, newly married, no money and pregnant. Grandpa Denny and Grandma Sue bought us a playpen and a highchair. From my Grandma Isabelle we got a tiny crib. From Aunt Karen and Uncle Terry we got a full size crib. It was a good thing I didn't work as I was sick every day-all 9 months. You were a week late. We went to the hospital to get a shot of prostaglandin gel (sp) that was suppose to 'loosen' me up and help get me into labor. They said it may take 4 or 5 applications, but for you it was just what you needed. When it was time to get ready to go home, I told the nurses that I didn't feel right. They hooked up the monitor and said labor had begun. It was a full night in the maternity ward. Both birthing suites were in use as were the two back-up rooms. I spent the night in a king size bed that wasn't adjustable. When it was finally time for you to revel yourself to us I had Dad and a nurse sitting behind me pushing me into a sitting position so I could deliver. No drugs-the doctor didn't 'believe' in them-whatever. In a few short pushes, you were here-crying, little fist waving and the most beautiful thing I had ever seen in my life. What was I suppose to do now? We learned like everyone does. Pre-school, kindergarten, starting band, going on the sixth grade camp out, being the small fish in high school, finding out how smart you were (where did that come from?), playing volleyball, cheerleading, speech, learning to drive, getting a job. Now today you turn 18. How did these years fly by so fast? In my mind it is like a slideshow of everything you have ever done and I can't go in and slow it down. Now you are poised to graduate in 3 short months and go north to college. You have turned into this wonderful person right before my eyes and I don't know when it happened.
All I can say is I am so proud of who you became and who you will become when you leave this house. You have a lifetime to show the world who you are and what you can do, but remember-it goes so fast. I look at your dad and still see the handsome young man I fell in love with 21 years ago. He still takes my breath away and gives me butterflies and it doesn't seem possible that this many years have passed by already. I feel the same as I did in that hospital 18 years ago-scared, excited and love. You will knock them dead. Just remember-I'm still your mom and I brought you into this world; I can take you out again.
Happy Birthday A.R.L.-I love you more than words can say.