Friday, August 13, 2010

Bittersweet Birthdays

Two of my "babies" and my husband have birthdays within a five day span in August. My hubby's birthday was on August 6; my oldest, Rachel, turned 8 on August 9; and my youngest, Emily, turned 3 on August 11. As we went through this week, I was struck by the bittersweetness of all the birthdays, especially the children.

On the one hand, I am, of course, grateful and feel so incredibly blessed to celebrate another happy, healthy year with my girls. It seems we are surrounded by stories of children who are sick, mistreated, or have suffered death much too early. But there I was, watching two of my three beautiful girls smile and laugh while they blew out the candles on another birthday cake. How beautiful! How wonderful!! How lucky I am!!

On the other hand, it is so hard to watch them grow up. My oldest opened gifts of jewelry, pocket books, and a real camera. No more baby dolls or toys for her - she is too old to be interested in those things. I look at baby pictures of her and wonder where the last eight years have gone. What have I done wrong?? What have I done right?? I know (or at least I hope) I will have many more years with my Rachel, but the first eight are gone.

The candle on Emily's cake was a number 3 this year. It seems when they turn two, we can still find a little bit of "baby" in them - at least they are only toddlers. Not when they turn three, though. She really is NOT a baby anymore. Again, it is bittersweet. No more diapers! No more waking in the middle of the night! No more pacifiers! Hallelujah!!!! But - No more holding her in my arms while she falls asleep. No more long walks while she sleeps in the stroller. No more feeding her whatever I choose. Do you see the bitter part??

In about a week, I get to feel it all over again as my middle daughter, Megan, starts kindergarten. In December, she will turn six and I will again wonder where the time has gone.

Would I have it any other way? Absolutely not!! I look forward to watching my girls continue to grow and I pray every day for their health and happiness. I look forward to shopping for prom dresses and wedding gowns. I wonder what occupations they will have; what their husbands will be like; how many children they will have. And every time I watch them blow out the candles on another birthday cake, I will smile and count my blessings and be joyful to have had another year with my wonderful daughters. And, since I am the mom, I will also do my best to hide the little piece of my heart that hurts as the flames on the candles go out again.

Here's to my girls - Rachel, Megan, & Emily. And here's wishing them many, many, many more happy birthdays!!!

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