Twelve....in just 1 hour and 14 minutes, you will be twelve. And I don't envy you. Twelve is not a fun age, for you OR for me. You will find your body changing in ways that will make you SCREAM in frustration,waking up in skin you are POSITIVE is not yours, struggling with keeping the smallest transgressions in perspective and pushing the envelope of parental restraints...testing your limits. And as your mother, I should be able to make all that easier on you, some how. But, I can't. Sadly, this aspect of growing up you need to handle mostly on your own. I can give you directions, but I can't DO for you. The hand holding days of my leading and you following are coming to a close.
However, I have a confidence in you that I don't have with your siblings. Because from day one, twelve years ago, you showed me that you have that "joi de vivre" that comes strictly from being you.
You were my easiest delivery but the ugliest aftermath. You were born at 1142am after only about an hour of hard labor and about 3 hours after the Dr broke my water. There was some meconium staining which meant my carefully planned birth plan went out the window. But that was the least of my worries. Born at 8# 10 oz, you matched your brother in weight, but you...you were born with what your maternal grandmother, who passed just 5 months earlier, had always wanted: there was no disputing that she WOULD have her red headed grandchild, even if she wasn't hear to see it. And big fluffy lips that could only have come from your father. Everything about you was perfect. When your dad placed you in my arms, I cried. And I asked that we give you my mom's name as your middle name. In Gaelic. You know the story of how Siobhan became your middle name. I hope you treasure it always.
Then ugly began in earnest...4 hours of post partum bleeding, a mad drive from your Dr across Minneapolis in Friday rush hour traffic, being typed and cross matched, rushed into surgery, transfused. I was lucky to make it home with my fertility in tact (see younger sister ). Recovery wasn't easy, but I was blessed with another good baby so you made it easier that it could have been.
We noted fairly early that you had a mind of your own, that you "marched to the beat of your own drum". While your brother and sister both took "binkys" you instead chose your fore finger and middle finger together as your soother (and can I thank you for that...as I was able to enjoy uninterrupted sleep NOT having to crawl around on the floor looking for a lost binky at some ungodly hour in the night). And you were in heaven if you could also hold onto someone's ear (while self soothing) where most children preferred a blanket. When you were done using your fingers as a soother(a little later that I would have preferred), you devised your own way of stopping. And you did...ALL.ON.YOUR.OWN. I have countless pictures of you with what only could be described as a snarl on your face...as a baby. It ALWAYS made us laugh.
As a toddler I was hit square in the face with your personality. I recall remarking to your preschool teachers that you were going to be the child that once you hit adult hood, I would have no worries about because you already knew who and what you were and outside influences wouldn't effect you. I just wasn't sure which of us would make it through first your toddlerhood, and now your teens. You with your life (for there have been days I have wanted to throttle you)...or me with my sanity (which is still up for debate). I hold firm to the belief that you WILL be the most confident of adults, sure in your knowledge that you are exactly what you appear to be.
You will have struggles in your life, stuck in the middle, as you are, of an older sister (and brother) who has(have) set the bar and a younger sister who seems to make it through her life by utilizing the "cute" factor (to the nth degree). You ARE Jan Brady. But with a twist. You do not need nor would you use a giant afro wig in order to set yourself apart from your sisters. You do that simply by being you.
You also have a group of friends who make me proud. It shows me that you are capable of not just making good choices in your relationships, but also that when those relationships are tested, whether through distance or personalities, you find ways to resolve them. A test of a true friend.
On the morning of your twelfth birthday, let me be the first to wish you have the happiest of ones and, no matter what the teen age years hold for you, please, promise me to stay true to who and what you are: a beautiful confident secure young lady, where the world is yours for the taking.
Happy Birthday Baby!
21 hours ago