I think that everyone thinks their children are the most beautiful people they have ever seen. It's the nature of the beast. After all, if we are going to go through labor, the end result had better be spectacular! I believe that my daughter is truly beautiful....inside and out.
She was born in 1981. Her dad and I were 22 and 23 years old. My goodness, how we could have screwed her up! She came into this world making her presence known. Two weeks before my due date the doctor told me that she was ready, it would be any day and that my labor would go very quickly because she was so low in the birth canal. I hide my babies well and the doctors told us that the baby would be fairly small. Well, she was 3 weeks late, I was in labor for 22 hours and she weighed 8 lbs. 9 oz. I knew then and there that the medical profession was clueless when it came to determining anything about babies. Turns out she was well worth the wait.
From the moment she was born she demanded attention. Not the negative kind where she acted out or was disruptive, but the kind where if she was in the room she HAD to be the focal point. At 4 months old she would cough if you left the room, knowing that you would return to check on the cough. She learned to talk.....I'm not sure when, because I can't honestly remember her not talking. She was talking in sentences well before her second birthday. When she was 27 months old she used to tell people that she was going to be "a neonatal nurse." She was not lacking in personality. She had huge brown eyes, a smile that lit up a room, blond hair (that turned to strawberry and then to auburn), and, as she grew older, adorable little freckles across her nose. Not the Howdy Dowdy, I have red hair and look like Alfalfa kind of freckles, but the kind that suggested she played outside and an angel had kissed her little face. Her little feet turned out when she learned to walk causing her to do a dead-on imitation of Charlie Chaplan. (Of course the feet were fixed with a bar when she slept, but those flexible little feet helped her be one awesome breaststroker.)
The terrible two's were trying because my daughter felt the need to rewrite the "Strong Willed Child." Strong Willed may actually be too gentle an explanation of life with her during those times. Our pediatrician told us that strong willed children grow up to be great adults because they hold firm to their beliefs and are usually driven and focused. It was around this time that we knew we needed help that could only come from one place....Jesus Christ. We were determined to raise a strong and faithful woman for Him. That is pretty much where our grasp and knowledge of parenting stopped and His began. Lucky for us, the Holy Spirit got a hold of our daughter when she was a little girl and began to prepare her for a life of serving him.
Of course, this road wasn't without speed bumps. As a little girl, our daughter was ultra-competitive and, sometimes, down-right bossy, especially where her brother was concerned. Her nickname was "cruise director." A label lovingly bestowed upon her in honor of a character from the Love Boat. She was over-dramatic, a nickname that she still uses today. These early qualities led to a child that became a classic over-achiever, an honor student, a successful competitive swimmer, a loyal friend, fabulous writer and a talented actress and performer. Her love for the Lord kept her from making many of the mistakes that mainstream teens make. She was active in her youth group and made wise choices. She graduated from high school and went on to study at Point Loma Nazarene University where she majored in Drama. She has used her writing and drama skills to teach high school drama and to write, direct and act in church productions. As an adult, she is fun-loving, compassionate, passionate about things important to her and down-right funny.
After college, she married her Prince. They began a life of serving the Lord together. He is a Pastor and she has settled into her role as a Pastor's wife. She makes seeking Him and following His Will look easy. She is mommy, to our first grandson, an adorable 18 month old chubby cherub who also appears destined to rewrite 'The Strong-Willed Child.' She has taken to mommyhood in much the same way she has approached everything else in her life. She is patient, loving and deeply in love with the little boy God has entrusted to her care.
At some point, right under my nose, my daughter grew up into a beautiful woman. At some point, my parenting was no longer needed on a daily basis. At some point, we were no longer the center of her universe. She is now a woman that I admire and strive to be more like. While she will always be my little girl, I am now proud to call her my friend.