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Feb 05

To Jessica Mary – Fifteen Years

Fifteen years ago, I was hugely pregnant.  Pretty sure that I was going to be pregnant forever.  I had already started my maternity leave, because we had scheduled a c-section a week ago, only to realize that Jessie had flipped when I went in for the last check up.  So I was home, feeling like it would never end.  And that was okay with me, because I loved being pregnant.

I felt like she was safe and mine and wasn’t ready to share her with the rest of the world.  I feel that way now too sometimes.

She’s going to be fifteen on Wednesday, and I need to get ready.

I’m no more ready to share her with the rest of the world than I was fifteen years ago.  But in the same way that labor happened regardless of how I felt about it – she’s going to be a sophomore, then a junior and then a senior and then she’ll be… out in the world.

Mothering Jessie has always felt completely natural.  I wanted to be a mother, so badly – and from the first moment I saw her, it was like something that had been missing my entire life clicked into place.  But it’s with Jessie that I constantly feel inexperienced, and like I’m playing catch up.  I no sooner adjust to having an infant and then she’s a baby.  I blink, and she’s a toddler, and then dancing off to preschool.  I can’t quite keep up with her, because it was yesterday that I was somehow the mother of a middle schooler, and suddenly we’re debating which AP class she should take and what scholarships she should apply for, and how far away can she go without me losing my mind?  (That last one is a consideration that I keep to myself – but breathe a sigh of relief when she tells me that she wants to stay within New England.)

At fifteen, Jessie is taller than I am, and so beautiful.  She’s brilliant and sarcastic and literally one of the funniest people I’ve ever known.  She’s still as emotional and intense as she’s ever been, only now she’s got a little maturity to add to it.  A little self-control, a little bit of restraint.  She still hates to fit in too much, hates to do anything on committee, and group projects make her crazy.  Her little sister is the bane of her existence, and I’m not entirely sure she’ll ever forgive Marc and I for making her share a bedroom with her.

I love this kid so much, her craziness, her kindness, her empathy and impatience and drive and humor.  Fifteen years ago, when I first saw her, I knew who she was and I knew who I was now.   And as much as I want to keep her all to myself for the next fifteen years, I know that I can’t.   There’s going to be so much changing soon, too soon.  She’ll get her license, and then her first job, and then college and an apartment, and if I spend too much time thinking about it – I’ll just end up in tears.  Because I’m no more ready now than I was fifteen years ago.

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