October 19, 2015. 5:35am. I sit here, at my kitchen island, sipping my coffee, a tangle of emotion, on the edge of tears. I tell myself it’s because my babe is turning seven today. And maybe this is it.
In twenty minutes, she and her sisters will come bounding down the steps in their pajamas, blue eyes morning bright under a curtain of tangled dirty blonde hair. I will scoop her up first, my middle girl, and whisper in her ear: Happy birthday, my girl. I love you. And she will giggle and smile her jack-0-lantern seven-year-old smile and wiggle down and scramble for the small stack of presents that awaits. She will tear them open. Hop around.
I will hang back, coffee mug in hand, and watch. I will thread my arm through Husband’s, bury my head in his chest, allow a tear or two to come if they need to. It will be a happy morning. An everyday morning. We will get the kids off to school.
Seven. Goodness, I remember being seven. I remember loving seven. I remember sitting on my top bunk in my beloved Celtic green bedroom, by my vast poster of Larry Bird, on my eighth birthday and being so sad because I wanted to be seven forever.
And now she is. Seven. This beautiful, zany, sensitive kid of mine. This child who is whimsical and fierce and smart and sweet and creative, a hippie flower child and a force on the soccer field. This child who was in my belly when I lost my own dad, who has his name sandwiched in the middle of hers, and his eyes. Her eyes are his. Hers.
And I’m feeling it, guys, whatever it is. Because this all feels more complicated than having a kid get older. But it doesn’t really matter what it is. I’ve learned that I don’t need to understand it. Feeling it is enough. And here’s the thing, the thing I must not forget: I’ve chosen to feel this, all of this. In my own 37 years, I’ve found sad and brilliant ways to escape the hard stuff and the good stuff, but not today and not anymore. I’m working, as ever, on embracing all of it, on letting this gorgeous and complicated life rattle and inspire.
And so. Here I sit. Alone for only a few more minutes, my hands gripping my mug. My heart is cartoon swollen, my mind stitched with memory and emotion and deep abiding love. I will drink my coffee and feel it.
Seven. Lucky seven. It will be a good one. I will make sure of that. Mainly though, she will. And I, lucky mother creature, will have a front row seat.