Today my daughter turns 3. I can't believe I just typed that. I am pregnant again and it feels like yesterday when I was pregnant with her. She has learned so much in her 3 short years, most of it good.
She has learned to be an only child, she has moved three times, she has become a big sister, she buckles herself into her carseat, she dresses and undresses herself, and she puts on her shoes (but still needs help tying).
She has learned disappointment from not getting what she wants when she wants, she has fallen and gotten hurt, she has gotten well, she has learned to go to preschool and swim classes without mommy, and she has learned to be independent.
Last night I went to bed at 9 pm, late for me. As I went to sleep I thought about all the things that needed to be done today; special birthday breakfast, swim lessons, grocery shopping, . . . The list went on. I started realizing that 3 years ago today my water broke as I decided to clean the bathroom at 10 pm in the evening - after forgoing a nap at 7 pm, a fateful mistake as I labored all night long. My little girl was born on a Sunday morning at about 11:30 am. I told the extended family that they could still make it to Noon Mass if they hurried.
I had no idea what I was in for that night. I had no idea that this little person would teach ME so much. She has taught me to be a mommy, to be firm, yet flexible, to understand myself more so I can parent her (a carbon copy of her mommy). I see her frustration and understand why I had such difficulty in my teen and young-adult years and that it wasn't until I had a home of my own that I was able to relax and be me. And I am sad when I realize she has such a long time until she will get her own home - the struggles will be hard for her.
Recently she has taught me new things - fierce protection of her Daddy, love of her grandparents, and true adoration for her brother. She has taught her brother many things; to take off shoes, to dance like Dora, to use a chair to turn on the light, and to use the table to get things off the top shelf (5 feet high!).
I am so excited about the years to come, but I look at her little brother - 17 months old - and realize how much she has grown in just 18 months. I just CAN'T believe it - she has her own preference, wants, and needs. She truly is a person, not just my child. She is not *mine*. She is Lainy Ann and we have helped to shape and mold her, but it is her life and her future to have. I can't wait to see what's next. . . . well, maybe I can, especially if it means riding her first 2-wheeler and going to first grade. I don't think this young mommy is ready for that yet.