My daughter turned 15 this week.
|5 years old, stuck in her sweater|
As many of my readers know, I met her when she was 5 and adopted her when she was 9. Though I may have cared for plenty of babies in my life, I didn’t know my own daughter as a baby, so this pregnancy makes me a “first-time mom” to many outsiders. Until the child is 5, admittedly, I will be in uncharted territory, but I feel pretty seasoned at what comes next. I say that because my daughter was/is one tough cookie to raise. Maybe she was my boot camp for parenthood. (I’ve heard many parents say the first child is the guinea pig.) However, 5 years old is still very young.
|Lego time at the Children’s Museum|
I walked my daughter into her first day of Kindergarten. I bathed and dressed her. We sang songs, had story time, snack time and craft time. I took her to birthday parties and threw parties for her. Until she was 7, she went everywhere with me. I even had to take her to a job interview. I dealt with the stares and blatant comments from everyone with an opinion following her public temper tantrums. I cleaned her up after puke sessions, usually caused by a tantrum (hers not mine). I stayed home with her on snow days. I took her to her dentist and doctor appointments. I watched her vigilantly when she grew a giant egg on her forehead after running directly into an obvious metal pole.
|Her “A Christmas Story” look|
Though my relationship with her was always fraught with baggage, and there was tension between her father and I, I still did everything I could to “mother” her. As she got older, I brought snacks to school, went to every parent/teacher night and award ceremony, took her to the book fair and chaperoned field trips. I signed her up for Girl Scouts and, as Catholics, made sure she got all of her sacraments. But really, nothing I ever did was good enough, for her or anyone else (Isn’t that the mark of a true mom?).
Now that her father and I are divorced and I don’t see her as often, she seems to be picking up more and more of his characteristics, and losing the lessons I taught her. I feel like I am losing her to both his bad habits and her high school friends. I can only hope that she remembers those years between 5 and 12, and all of the time we spent together.
As for the new baby, though I can’t say how I will feel when I am sleep deprived and up to my ears in dirty diapers, I tend to think I will be able to handle the stresses thrown at me far better than if I had never met my daughter. My goal is to keep calm, because in reality, this is not my first rodeo.