My baby girl, Kailyn, turns twenty-one on Monday.
I'll leave for work, and she will pack her car and head north,
choosing to celebrate this milestone with her first best friend, her sister Jessica, who lives in Bellingham.
|Love those 80's glasses! I used to joke that I "wore" Kailyn most of the first 6 months of her life, either in a front pack or her personal favorite, the back pack. |
I canned peaches with her on my back that summer!
|A rare moment when she was sleeping!|
She started life as a twin,
(ultrasounds in those days were kind of fuzzy,
and while I still have it,
I wouldn't know how to download it)
but her sibling died en utro at 20+ weeks.
I had been put on bed rest
(with a rambunctious 18 month old).
Yet Kailyn's twin died anyway,
and I spent the rest of my pregnancy
worried about the left over twin
(who would be Kailyn one day).
|Her daddy looks so young!|
I don't have a photo, but my first memory in recovery
is of her daddy sitting next to my bed,
cradling her head in his big hands,
softly whispering words . . . I don't recall what,
watching Kailyn stare steadfastly into his eyes,
and silent tears of gratitude
flowing from my own,
she was alive
she was safe and sound
with all the important fingers and toes
and ears that could hear
and eyes that obviously could see.
|Kailyn helping mommy make a cake!|
I was old when she was born,
and as soon as she was cut loose
I reminded my doctor not to forget
about my requested tubal ligation!
I was, after all . . . forty!
Older parenting isn't for the weak,
yet I've often felt it's what has kept me young
(at least at heart . . . the body is still very much aging!)
|One of my favorite pictures, Jess was the dress up queen. |
But you can tell by those rosy cheeks who the wild one was!
Jessica was barely two when she received her built-in life-long sister-friend, alternately cooing at Kailyn or informing me importantly, "Mommy, my baby sister Kailyn wants you!" or pushing the cradle or the swing so hard
Kailyn nearly toppled out!
Once she walked up to her infant sister, as I was holding her, calmly reaching for Kailyn's tiny hand. I thought Jess was going to kiss her little fingers, but instead she chomped down hard! In a shocked, strangled voice I shouted for my husband to "get that child away from here!" Perhaps Jess was merely demonstrating her alpha status . . . which I'm now told was firmly held until she left for college.
|Apparently, forgiven . . .|
|The girls telling their Dad, "We want this tree!" |
which is several feet too tall for our living room!
|High School Graduation!|
Today, 21 years later, the bites and the fights are distant memories.
Kailyn's first choice to celebrate this day is to drive across the state
and spend it with Jessica, (who has been given doctor's orders to rest,
thanks to a recent diagnosis of mono!)
In another week, Kailyn will be back in Ellensburg
and I'll be back in my classroom without her
and I'll be missing her calm assistance;
her patience working with students.
The entire class will surely be in mourning!
Having her choose to stay home unexpectedly
I was remembering dreaded moments from high school days
constant tripping over too many shoes . . .
there was peace
long adult conversations
frequently coming home
to a tidy, organized house
dinner cooking (or waiting)
welcome company and
valued assistance in my classroom
There is a saying
"When God closes one door, He opens another."
Kailyn's choice to not return to France felt like a closed door.
Instead, it was an open door opportunity to
get to know my daughter as a person,
not flesh of my flesh, but as an individual, separate, unique.
I've always loved her; I always will.
But, over the past three months I've discovered that I really like her,
enjoy her company, value her opinions; appreciate her insights.
I thought it would get old having her in my classroom for three months.
I thought she would get bored of it, or sit and read (like she used to do!).
After watching her, and listening to her, I am thoroughly convinced,
she's going to be an amazing teacher.
What a gift the past three months have been. Kailyn is not just my daughter, she's become a trusted friend. I'm really going to miss her, yet, ironically, I doubt if I'll be sad when she leaves.
Instead, I'll be happy that my friend is returning to her studies (and her boyfriend!) and, like any good friend, I'll look forward to good times spent together in the future.
Turning twenty-one is a big one!
Happy Birthday Kailyn!