In a few days, our oldest daughter, Leah, will celebrate her 30th birthday (or the 5th anniversary of her 25th birthday, as she likes to say).
It is hard to believe that I have been a parent for 30 years. 30 years. When did I get that old?
Leah as a 2-year-old.
I won’t say time flies or it seems like just yesterday or anything like that.
Because there were many periods of parenting that seemed to last FOREVER. Like the months of no sleep with newborns. And then the lost sleep once they became teenagers. Or the years of adolescent angst. And the high school senior / college kid, “I am an adult now” push to do whatever they wanted even though they continued to rely on us for support. And housing. And health care. And food. And transportation. And cell phones. You know – stuff for which real adults are responsible.
This week as I reminisced about the years living with my strong-willed from birth daughter, I ran across a picture of butterflies. She is terrified of butterflies. Why? Because butterflies are very scary creatures. Seriously. So, what did I do? I sent her the picture of the butterflies that made me think of her. Because that’s just how I roll. There is actually a name for this phobia – mottephobia or lepidopterophobia (not really sure which phobia name is applicable, but it is interesting to learn that this is a phobia experienced by many others).
Another thing I remembered was that when she was little and she was being bad, I would call her a young lady. Her response was always, “I not a ‘ung lady!”
Leah’s senior piano recital.
She was also always very dramatic so her choice of doing Drama as an extracurricular in high school was very appropriate. She got to do a lot of acting and directing and was also able to use her artistic abilities to paint the drama room with depictions of the various plays they put on while she was there. The last time I visited the high school, it was nice to see them still painted on the walls.
The day she left home for her new life as a real adult.
She graduated from college and lived with us for only a few short months before moving to another state from where we lived at the time. She figured out how to manage her life, move to new places, and to develop her career with very little help from us. I guess that is the goal – to give them the tools they need to be able to live independently once they become “real” adults.
One unique thing about her – every job for which she has ever interviewed, she has received an offer and accepted. She got a job working for the company for which she interned while in college. She really wanted a job with a particular health care IT company, and they hired her. From there, she interviewed with one of their client’s, a health care system, and they hired her. They had an internal opening for which she interviewed, and they transferred her to it and a new city. We tell her that she is very lucky to have received job offers for every job for which she has interviewed. Not many people can say that.
Leah and Ryan got married in Hawaii on St. Patrick’s Day.
Five years ago on St. Patrick’s Day, she married a great guy, too. I like to tell him that he is my favorite son-in-law. (He is our only son-in-law.)
It is my hope that they don’t complain about me, too much, as the ugly mother-in-law. I try to stay out of their business and let them lead their own lives much like I did mine.
We have five beautiful and smart and successful daughters. We learned a lot with the first one. I tell her that she was our starter kid. What we messed up with her, we fixed with the later ones.
Leah at her surprise party after she received her Master’s degree.
Happy 30th Birthday, to our beautiful child, Leah!