Friday, November 6, 2009

Happy Birthday, Baby

I say the words, but they don't make sense to me. My baby girl will be 29 years old tomorrow. What a ride her life has been. So many precious memories flash before my eyes, so many heartaches are right there, too.

How can I possibly tell you about my Annie? She has a smile that is pure sunshine, and she flashes it indisciminately. I am not kidding...when she walks in a room and smiles, it is like someone turned on a 1,000,000 watt bulb.

I had a troublesome pregnancy with her. In my first trimester, the doctor decided that I either A) had twins or B) the fetus was not alive. I was so huge and they could not find a heartbeat. The debate was how far along I was. I insisted I knew when I got pregnant (I was in North America and her father was in Europe for about 6 weeks before she was born. Those dates didn't impress the doctor, but I knew. In the end, I was right! Duh!) Anyway, at one point, the doctor was insistent that I check myself into the hospital and he would do a 'little procedure and take care of the problem'. It was all I could do to keep from decking him. I was not going to abort my baby. When she was born by scheduled C-Section about 6 weeks before I insisted she was due, the doctor decided that she was 6 weeks premature and said, "oops. Guess you knew what you were talking about!" She was perfectly fine, and weighed almost 8 pounds. Pretty good for a preemie, don't you think?

She has been a source of pure joy to me, but she has not always been an easy child. She was born when her father was on a remote tour of duty with the USAF in the Philippines. She was 9 months old when he came back stateside to reunite with us. You can imagine that I wasn't all that trilled to be sacrificing for my country, left with a precocious 2 year old and an infant. And this infant was not so happy to join the party. It seems that she cried 26 hours a day. She was not,and is not the best sleeper in the world.

She is the child I rushed to the emergency room over and over and over again. Who knows how many stitches she has had in her body? The night I watched as they put 53 total in her beautiful face was a long night. I lost track of the number of times we went for stitches, but it was a lot. Can't forget that she broke her wrist twice in 3 years, either. Or the broken fingers. Did I mention stitches? She has never done anything half-way. Nope. Not Annie. She broke out with the chicken pox on top of a bit of sunburn and already on antibiotics for strep. That's my girl! If you are going to be very, very sick!

I can remember holding her when she was a preschooler and thinking that if I admited to myself how absolutely amazing and beautiful and wonderful (not to mention smart) she was, that something bad would happen. Like in ancient times when people were afraid that the gods would be jealous and bad things would happen. I was content some days to just sit and look at her. How in the wide, wide world of sports did someone as average as I am have this wonder-child surgically extracted from my body?

She was magical and precious and so loved. She spent an entire day once being a kitty cat. As a toddler, she was fearless. I keep looking for the suction cups that must be on the bottom of her feet, because I promise you...she could shimmy to the top of the refrigerator. The words, "Momma...come look!" could strike terror in my heart, because that could mean that she was on the roof, the refrigerator, or perched to do a swan dive from the top bunk of the bunkbeds.

Her teenage years are her own story to tell...not mine. Her early twenties were not easy for any of us. But from those hard times has emerged a confident, sparkling, brilliant young woman who has such a heart for family and friends and the people around her. I never wanted my children to be rock stars or even 'the best'. I always wanted them to be strong in their faith, able to make good decisions, and be citizens in their world.

My Annie is all those things and more. The path she chose has not been easy, but she has come through the fire, purified and strong. I was in awe of the wonder of Annie when she was a baby, and I am in awe of the strong woman I see today.

Happy Birthday, Annie Sunshine. The world is a much better place because you are here. I love you with all of my heart.


Teri Lynne said...

Oh my goodness, what a beautiful tribute to an amazing young woman! I love you both and cannot wait to see you next weekend.

Mollianne said...

Thank you, Teri! I She IS amazing, in spite of me!