Nine years ago, my baby girl came bursting into the world, sliced out of me in inelegant fashion. Her first moments included pooping on the doctor, craning her strong neck around the room, and in general, seeming ready to take on the world. This girl I’d been dreaming about my whole life was finally here. Blink a few times, and now she’s turning nine, everything I’d dreamed and more.
Nine is halfway to 18, which feels monumental. We are at the halfway point of her childhood, and I know the little kid stage is quickly ending. Perhaps it already has. Because Little Sister is close behind at four, Big Sister is really a big kid by comparison, hurdling toward tween-dom and beyond.
Although I love writing and graphic design, motherhood is really the truest calling I’ve ever felt and easily identified. My happiest days were my babies’ first ones. After recovering from that C-section and settling into motherhood, my girl and I had some blissful years. My body was built for breastfeeding, and I soaked up all those good chemicals and made the most of having a constant companion who smelled sweet and looked adorable. It didn’t hurt that the most common comments were “she has such beautiful eyes” and “she looks just like you!”
It’s not to say there were no challenges or sleepless nights. There certainly were. And our potty training bathroom battles are the stuff of legends. Motherhood for me, and perhaps for everyone, is a two-sided coin. The best and the worst are all wrapped together, but it’s easy to focus on the good, the happy, the joy when looking to celebrate this ninth birthday.
When I think of my baby, I’m at least partly looking back with rose-colored glasses and twinging ovaries. I recognize that my arms will never hold my own newborn again, so I hold that time in such high regard and with fond memories. I loved being a mama with little ones. And I absolutely recognized that joy in the moment. I don’t know if that makes me miss it more or less, but I have no regrets about how I spent my time or think I could have savored it more.
And here we are on the threshold of something new. Nine seems so grown up, yet not even a decade. My girl has always had strong opinions, but she’s able to articulate her arguments so well these days. She can read and write with ease, including cursive, draw adorable sketches, and complete complex math problems. Her latest obsessions are all screen-based: retro Mario Brothers video games, Harry Potter books and movies, Among Us–things that seem so grown up or at least on the verge of what comes next.
I’m sad we can’t throw her a big party for this birthday (last year’s at Main Event was her favorite), see family in person, or take a big trip. But we’ll give her undivided attention, presents and plenty of screen time to balance things out and mark the start of another trip around the sun.
If our first nine years were about me enjoying and living into my calling as a mother, I think the next nine years will be more focused on helping her, my beloved daughter, find and lean into her calling, whatever that may be. And the sky is certainly the limit for my brave, bold and amazing first-born girl. I adore her.