Twelve years ago, I became a mother. I remember the day well. My doctor called in the morning with some test results, and told me to get to the hospital so I could be induced. I remember laying in bed when the phone rang, and being a little shocked at the news. It was just one day before my due date, but still, this was it! The scary moment I'd been anticipating and dreading had arrived. I was terrified and excited in almost equal measure. Things weren't happening as I'd read in my books. There were no contractions, my water didn't break. Just a phone call telling us that it was time, that our baby would be there that day.
Meeting Bethany was an overwhelmingly joyous occasion. How to even begin to describe it to someone who has not experienced becoming a parent? The world was one way, and now it is another. Suddenly the old way is forgotten. There is just this tiny baby, with red hair (I had so hoped for red hair!), who was living inside my body and is now in my arms. I felt strangely alien. Did this child really come out of me?
Twelve is a big deal. It is still a little girl, but very grown up. My mind is blown that it's been 12 years since I got that phone call. Twelve years since my entire world has changed so completely.
Every day for 12 years I have been stunned by Bethany's beauty and strength. I have been stunned by my ability to love another human being so very much.
By her next birthday, Bethany will be taller than me. She showers without being told and does her own hair. She has strong opinions about everything from fashion to food and everything in between. When she is sick, I am no longer consumed by nurse duties. She goes in the kitchen and makes her own soup or cup of tea. Perhaps being the oldest has played a role in making her grow up fast, but that is tempered with her natural inclination to do things herself - which was made evident very soon after her birth. As an infant, Bethany wanted only to be left alone when she was tired. She did not require rocking and lullabies to get to sleep, she required being put down.
My little red headed princess is comfortably nestled in the middle school years, with high school no longer a far off thought but just a blink of an eye away. For her birthday she wanted highlights, and after YEARS of her asking (and askingandaskingandasking), I finally gave in. I had to face the facts that by her age I had ruined my hair with Sun-In. I didn't want the same fate for her, so I took her to the salon and had it done right. Here she is, so grown up and beautiful, yet still the same silly kid she's always been. That's a Dum Dum in her mouth, by the way.
Bethany is a doer, a girl with a plan. At the salon, she whipped out her phone and had pictures ready to show the stylist just how she wanted her hair. She has had her first day of school outfit picked out for a week, and school doesn't start for another week. She makes lists and has so many ideas. She figures things out.
My baby girl is 12. I can't believe it.