She arrived at 2:55 p.m. on September 7th ten full years ago. She charged into this world amid a flurry of frantic activity as my labor suddenly went into overdrive and I dilated from 7 to 10 centimeters in mere minutes. 3 pushes later she took her first breath: My Sophia Grace.
Oh how bittersweet this birthday is marking the completion of a decade spent dancing through the days with this daughter of mine. From being the toddler who regularly pulled at my ear lobes for comfort in what we deemed Sophia’s ear tugs to now having long enough legs that let her reach the counter to help me cook and wash a dish or two – I have watched her turn into this grown-up girl.
While happy and excited to face the next decade watching her in wonder, I am also filled with the sadness that every parent has experienced – the sadness that accompanies the passing of time as we pause and look back. Did she have a happy childhood? Did I appreciate it as much as I should have? Will she ever reach toward me again to give me an ear tug? And then the added question that haunts me still – did the divorce do damage?
She turned 5 just 6 days after our divorce was final. It has surprised me more than once how little she seems to remember about being in a house that held both her mom and her dad. She laughs at the idea and cannot even really imagine it. “You two living together?” she giggles as she elaborates, “But you are so different!.” Have I mentioned she is wise for her age?
Despite all of the evidence that presents itself daily that my daughter is happy, healthy, well adjusted, and thriving, this worry plaques me yet. I feel sure it always will. The deep guilt of not having given her exactly the life I planned for her. But did I plan this beautiful life she has lead? Did I plan for her to triumph over making that 1 soccer goal in 4 years on the field? Did I plan the tears that were shed when her older sister snapped at her for being babyish? Did I plan those nighttime worries of going to bed in the dark? Of course I couldn’t have. And of course, all of these things have crafted her into her own unique perfect being.
So today I vow to shed some of that guilt and take in all of her remaining childhood sweetness: to cherish the innocence she still shares with me when on occasion she still holds my face in her hands and tells me I am beautiful; to continue to let her learn from her struggles and not protect her too much from her needed growing pains; and to no longer let my insecurities of being a divorced mom interfere with her beautiful life. Happy Birthday Sophia.