My beautiful, precious, healthy, wanted baby turns 15 today.
I was thinking about the arc of our relationship the other day. I was one of the lucky moms who got to choose to stay home, and as a consequence, Punkin and I spent the entirety of her first two years together (and the next four years were spent together with Bean in the mix). My baby and I were close, and that was vitally important to me.
As she grew, I learned that parenting (at least, the way I wanted to do it) is a dance. Sometimes, mother and child are inseparable; sometimes, each of them needs the space to explore and experiment and grow, but no matter how far one wanders away, each needs to know that the other will always be within calling distance. I think that my children understand this, and I think that’s part of why I have such amazing relationships with them.
I am so proud of the woman Punk is growing up to be. Despite her age-and-stage bumps in the road, she is genuine and thoughtful and open-hearted. She knows how to love people, and how to be loved in return.
My daughter is hysterically funny. She’s managed to meld her father’s understated sense of humor with my propensity to say what I’m thinking, and the result is a kid with razor-edged observation, wicked skill with the one-liner, and impeccable timing.
My daughter is, I think, objectively beautiful. She has long, luxuriously red hair (no Opie orange), porcelain skin, and a delicate sprinkling of freckles that lend an edge of girlish cute to the stunningly beautiful. She has a beautiful body, and when she’s not suffering age-and-stage clumsy, she is graceful and poised. Her fashion sense is a delightful mix of classic and modern, and I find myself taking dressing cues from her.
What I love most right now, though, is the evolution in our relationship. I am finding that I’m seeing her less as a child and more as… not an equal, exactly, but something fast approaching that. I can talk to her about difficult things – she’s a great listener, and that thoughtfulness I mentioned earlier makes her well-positioned to see things from multiple angles. We often work very well together. I like spending time with her – I genuinely enjoy her company – and that’s something sublime for me; I never enjoyed that kind of a relationship with my biological mother, and didn’t get to spend nearly enough time with my adopted mother. As a consequence, this kind of matter-of-fact love and acceptance was important to me, and the fact that I see it developing right before my very eyes gives me a kind of satisfaction and joy that defy my ability to describe them.
I am so lucky to be sharing my life with this amazing person, and I’m deeply and profoundly grateful that she chose me to be her mommy.
I love you, Punkin’ Pie. Happy birthday.