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Feb 12

The number nine candle

We do a LOT of birthday parties in this family. Partly because both my husband and I have large families, partly because we’ve got a lot of friends with kids, and partly because we’ve always got limited space. So this year, my daughter is getting a birthday party every weekend for three weeks. Today is her “school friend party”, next weekend will be a “Daddy’s family party” and the end of the month will be the combo party with my family and all of our friends, and it’s a joint party for her and her best friend.

So today, we had seven little girls, a five year old little brother, and a toddler running around like lunatics to celebrate the birth of my oldest child. We had a cupcake decorating party, and set each kid up with a couple of cupcakes, littered the table with sprinkles, glitter frosting and tubes of icing and let them go nuts. Then my husband pulled out the number nine candle – and I had a minute, just a minute, when I wanted to cry because how was it possible that my tiny little angel baby was suddenly a big nine year old girl?

Wasn’t it yesterday that buying the number one candle was an event?

Every child is special and amazing and my oldest isn’t any more amazing than my middle child, or my baby. But the difference is that she is my introduction to motherhood. She’s the one that changed my name from Melissa to Mama. It’s not that her milestones are any more momentous than the others, but they are my first as well – so there’s that moment of ohmygoodness, my baby is not a baby anymore and it panics me just a little bit.

Because I remember so vividly the day she was born, and the baby she was. I remember the way she’d lay her little head on my shoulder and stop crying when I whispered “Shhhh” and I was convinced she was a genius. I remember the way she’d warble the Barney theme song and dance across the bed. I remember the way she was terrified of pumas (thanks Go Diego Go!) and my husband would have to search the bedroom before she’d lay down for sleep. I remember the way she used to cry for me to shut off the sun when we drove home on 290 and it was in her eyes and how she never quite believed me when I said I couldn’t. I remember her first day of preschool, and her first day of kindergarten and the day she decided to potty train herself. I remember all of it, and it’s blowing my mind that she’s NINE. And next is ten, and then she’s a teenager, and suddenly, she’ll be an adult – and I still can’t quite wrap my head around it.

I’m a little wistful tonight, because my baby is growing up, and I’m already a tiny bit missing the baby she was. I’m loving the grown up girl she’s becoming, and I can’t wait to see the woman she’ll be someday – but I wonder if I’ll always picture her as I do now, this tiny little angel wonder girl who changed my entire world nine years ago.

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