15 years ago today, I became a mom. Up until that point, I had no idea how much my life would change. I didn't realize the size of the blank space in my heart, nor did I anticipate the fierceness of the love that would fill it.
At 7:43 PM, when the nurse placed on my belly the tiny pink bundle we had just called Hayley Marie, she lifted her head up to the side and opened her eyes as if to greet me, to greet the world. And thus the adventure began.
I've always been insanely proud of that tiny girl, from hearing her first real word (neither "mommy" nor "daddy," but a very decisive "car") to watching her take her tottering first steps at just a shade over nine months. She's had a colorful personality from the time it started to show; for instance, the day (at a year and a half or so) that I attempted to put her in time-out for doing some thing she knew was a no-no, and her response was an emphatic "No! Ree-dickelous!" coupled with a foot-stomp. (And resulting in a mommy hard-pressed to remain stern instead of cracking up.)
Over the years she's given me an entirely different perspective on lots of things, from insisting that the backs of our knees should be called "knee-pits" and that ice cream with toppings was a "sun-bow" instead of a sundae, to the day she inquired, in perfect solemnity, how, since I didn't get my first cell phone until after she was born, how I talked on the phone in my car before that.
She continues to amaze me, as I see what a thoughtful, intelligent person and a beautiful young woman she's becoming. It strikes me at odd times how totally much she's my kid - and then she will come up with something so much funnier than I ever could and throw me for a loop.
I still couldn't be more proud of that tiny girl, even though she stands a good couple of inches taller than me now.
Hayley Marie, I love you more than you can imagine. Just like I've told you since I could hold you in one arm, "you make Mommy's heart pound." Happy Birthday - I hope you have a wonderful day.