Eight years ago, I became a mom. Joe and I became parents. We had our baby, our first, our Anna Grace.
We brought our chubby, over 8 pounder home, just ourselves, and were welcomed the rest of the weekend by a steady stream of eager grandparents, excited aunts and uncles, curious cousins, and our wonderful “family” from our church. It was baby bliss!
Our baby, our first, our girl rarely went anywhere not dressed in PINK. She was doused in head-to-toe candy box, cutey pie, sweet clothes I spent a lot of time, thought, and, much to Joe’s dismay, money upon. She had a room of Pottery Barn Pink, happy stars and patchwork gingham that made it so girly it nearly oozed Bubble Gum.
It was bliss.
But it was my bliss.
Fast-forward eight years, and to know Anna, you’d do a double take if you saw her in some of the get-ups I used to put her in. Rarely as a baby, and even a toddler, was she found without a hairbow, perfectly coordinated with her outfit. Now, I’m lucky to get her in a dress for a family wedding!
Surprisingly, this is not a big deal to me. What started out as a relationship forged in fashion and frills has evolved. Maybe it’s because I have Josie, who is just as crazy about cuteness as I am, or maybe it’s because I just don’t want to mess with the amazing person Anna has become, so why fight about jeans and t-shirts. Maybe it’s because I have become more confident as her mother, and want her to keep feeling confident in herself, because I know she’s awesome.
She’s one of those kids who you want to be around. Drama-free, relaxed, yet tender hearted, wants to just play, and not worry about who’s doing what. An avid sports girl, Anna can quote the Big Ten standings, Yadier Molina facts. She’s a smarty pants, too, even though she’d never brag about her perfect spelling test record (no missed words, and we’re into the month of March!!). She’s one of those girls who finds mud to get into, who almost always has a little lunch on her face, but is still beautiful. She’ll put together a mean Lego spaceship without even batting an eye, and knows more about cattle than I probably ever will. We are so different, and yet, I am bursting with joy at who she is, and who she will be.
In the early years, it was my name, my touch, my hug that made things better, but now she is a her daddy’s girl, calling out for him when she is sad or sick or needs help. I thought I wouldn’t be okay with this at first, but my role as a mother isn’t to be the only one she goes to. Her relationship with her dad is something to admire. Steadfast and easy going, those two can do just about anything together. And that, my friends, is way more important than being the first one to be called upon for a bad dream. This relationship makes me love them even more than I thought could be possible.
My baby girl has grown up. I know it’s not like she’s 18 or something, but that growth spurt to put her almost to my shoulders, and that first trip to the women’s shoe department really made me take a good look at my baby’s eyes and see a young woman inside her. Who she’s become in 8 years is far from the pink bundle I carried home that day, but she has surpassed all expectations, and her confidence, loving heart, and unique personality makes me teary-eyed just to think about her.
She may roll her eyes at the pink candles I place on her basketball cake today (just because I remembered candles AFTER I came home from the store), but she’ll blow them out, and make a wish for something like baseball cards or a day sledding with her dad. That’s what I love about her. That’s what makes Anna, Anna.
So proud of our baby, our pink bundle, and all who she is, and all who she will be.
Happy birthday, Anna Grace!