Tomorrow, my eldest child starts kindergarten. How did we get here? She was bottle fed from day one. Not a single ounce of breastmilk has touched this girl’s lips. We never used a sleep sack, and she refused a swaddle blanket.
The night we started sleep training, I drank an entire bottle of wine. The next night she slept in bed with me, because my heart (and my liver) couldn’t handle it. Every so often we still let her crawl in between us, when she finds her way into our room at night.
Despite the warnings discouraging screen time, she became very familiar with the voices of the Real Housewives before the age of one. Mostly because her mother needed to hear something other than her own thoughts, when she was cooped up, alone, in an apartment in West Texas.
This girl survived Johnson and Johnson bath products, Purell hand sanitizer, and Bounce drier sheets. She ate Gerber baby food from a pouch, switched to a front facing car seat before she was officially 2 years old, and was sent away to school shortly after.
I’ve used a leash on her more than once. I’ve lost track of the time outs. She’s had more hot dogs and chicken nuggets than I ever thought possible.
She can tie her own shoes, count to well over 100, and sing “Head Shoulders Knees and Toes” in Hebrew. Her favorite color is pink, she is obsessed with recycling, and when she grows up, she wants to be a famous singer who teaches babies how to do yoga. She says please, thank you, and yes ma’am (when her Mimi is in town). I have never seen her complain about food, and she has a deep passion for breakfast.
Her current hero is Sacagawea, and she is planning her own journey through the Northwest Passage…preferably without the company of stinky, smelly men. She loves slapstick comedy, and doubles over in laughter when someone trips, falls, spills, or runs into something.
Despite inheriting her mother’s lack of grace and rhythm, she dances with her entire body, and sings at the top of her lungs, whenever the opportunity presents itself.
There are so many times I have messed up. So many times, guilt has boiled in my throat, until I was sure it would leave a hole. I am not a perfect mom. In fact, there are many days where I question if I am even a good one.
I am also keenly aware that I am lucky. My children present as able bodied and neuro-typical. Where other families have had tragedies, we have funny “Oh well!” stories that we will laugh about on holidays and family vacations. Our children have managed to survive us, regardless our many, many shortcomings.
Somehow, we have made it to this milestone. We have a beautiful, funny, empathetic little being, who leaves an impression on everyone she meets. My prayer for her, is that she continues to forge her own path. That she feels how loved she is, and that she extends that love to others. It has been a wild ride, and I know we are still only at the beginning.