My sweet, darling Claire,
All too soon, you’ll be a high school graduate and ready to take on new chapters and new adventures. I know it’s an over-used and clichéd phrase, but time has flown by in a whirlwind rush full of so many memories…the good, the bad, the sad, the grand and the beautiful. They’re all there, stored safe and sound. You’ll head off in the fall to create wonderful, new memories. And I couldn’t be more proud of you or excited for you.
In the past week, you’ve been telling me it’s your last fill-in-the-blank day of high school – ever. You, my sweet, love, are the last of the lasts.
You are also the one I waited for. The baby girl. You know the story all too well, but I’ll tell it again, for the sake of those who don’t know it…
I knew when I met your dad we’d have boys. Four, if he got his way. Three, if I got mine. But what I didn’t realize as your dad and I made those plans was how very much I wanted a little girl.
When I got pregnant with you, Zach and Lucas (and your father as well) were testosterone-laden maniacs. I was surrounded, up to my eyeballs with wild monkeys who swung from the rafters, jumped off of furniture, destroyed things, tried to rebuild them and created mayhem wherever they went. I was beyond exhausted when I was carrying you. And terrified, if I’m being completely honest. Terrified at the thought of having another wild monkey, but also racked with guilt at the same time. What if this third baby actually turned out to be another boy? Could I love him, or would I resent him? And then I figured it out! I had no control of the gender of the baby I was carrying, but I could be in control of keeping the gender a surprise until it was time to meet either Claire or Jared. I knew once the baby was placed in my arms there would be immediate love. I didn’t want to go through my whole pregnancy resentful, so I didn’t find out. I wished and prayed for you, my baby girl, without fully wishing and praying, while the doctor kept you a secret.
And I waited. It seemed like eternity, and finally, I couldn’t wait anymore. I needed to meet you. I needed you to come before your December 24 due date. The hospital was no place I wanted to be with a new baby on Christmas. So I drank castor oil, and it worked. A little too well. You came roaring into this world without a doctor in sight. Just you, the nurse, Dad and me. Dad stepped in and scooped you up. The baby girl. The one I waited for.
You, my love, are the last of the lasts. You know what that means. You see. You watch. You’ve been watching me your whole life. My little shadow, and the biggest, loudest terror of them all. You were sunshine and giggles when you were planted fully on my hip and my hip alone. Dad, the one who scooped you up and bestowed your name on you, was your persona non grata for years. You the baby girl I wished for, without fully wishing, was glued to me. To this day you watch and see so much. And you know how you being the lasts affects me.
You know the importance of your role in our family. Without you I’m not sure I could have survived the onslaught of the maniacal power of a testosterone laden house. Dad. He’s such a wonderful man, but he’s that way because of so many things you taught him. You know now how little he understood about females before your arrival. He thought the female hormone thing was a ploy, not really existing, just there to make excuses for emotions that sometimes ran a high. Enter you. He saw a little girl from the ground up. You showed him that girls are just girls. He learned it from you. The baby girl.
Come August you, my love, will leave our nest to go and spread your wings and do great things in this world because Dad taught how important it is to be a strong, young woman in a world full of men. You and your dad did such a wonderful job teaching each other so many fundamentals in inter-personal/inter-gender relationships. You, my little shadow, the one who constantly watches, saw how Dad grew to treat me because of you.
You are going to soar. And I couldn’t be more proud of you. I just wish time hadn’t gone so fast with the one I waited for.