Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Sara's Birthday

I looked at Sara leaving for school the other day--all put together, like she always is--and saw her walking straight out of my arms.

Today, Sara is thirteen--a teenager. How? I remember holding her in my arms for the first time like it was yesterday. She's in 7th grade--a young lady now--responsible, creative, ambitious, and honest. She's grown tall enough to look me in the eye and has already grown out of my shoes. I can feel her slipping out of my reach (we'll both cry when we read this).

She left today and Bridget was in my arms with her nose against mine. She was smiling sweetly and patting my back as if to say, Its going to be okay, mom. I pulled her closer and held on tight...for a long time.

Bridget is our last, and her taking longer to grow up has been a surprise gift. We're seeing steady progress--and the same stages of development in her that all the other kids went through--its just that some of the phases are elongated. She's two now, and most two-year-olds are already full-blown toddlers beginning to stretch away clearly from the "baby" phase. Bridget still smells like a baby. She's soft and warm and sweet. She gets everywhere she wants to go and has an independent streak, but she is not really walking yet. I know it won't be long before she is off and running. I've had her in my arms a little longer than the others, and truthfully, I'm enjoying this time.

Sara is fully entrenched in adolescence and all the ups and downs of teenage life. She's starting to build a life of her own. And one day, she'll leave to pursue that life on her own. And the rest of the kids will, in turn, leave on their own schedule and in their own ways. Bridget, too, I'm betting...but not for a while still. For now, she's my Lovebug, my Band-Aid, my tiny companion.

My precious oldest, my precious youngest--looking at the two of them today, I realized that I'm being eased into the gradual leaving process, and I have Bridget to soothe and comfort me throughout.

My thoughts today are a little bittersweet, but mostly I'm thinking of how much I love these children of mine--all of them--forever & ever.

p.s. Happy Birthday and lots of love also to Uncle Sid, Sally & Pops!

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