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Family, Parenting

16 Candles in My Heart Will Glow

Catherine, just a couple of months old, enjoying bathtime.

Oh, there’s just no way to skip the cliches, so I’ll just have at them:

How time flies! Where do the years go and how do I now find myself here, the mother of a 16 (16!!!)-year-old daughter?

For I know I haven’t aged THAT much. It was just yesterday that I was waking Basil up to time the contractions and waiting for him to finish the pot of coffee he had to brew before we could leave for the hospital (TRUE story).

Only yesterday that I lied to the anesthesiologist and said I would go without the epidural NEXT time.

Only yesterday that I had to ask the doctor, um, boy or girl? (Guess with everyone knowing ahead of time these days, that eureka moment is reserved for Hollywood.)

Only yesterday that I gulped down my hospital-issued turkey sandwich as the nurse brought this perfect little bundle of joy to me. I peered at Catherine’s little snuggled self for a long time before realizing that it was OK to pick her up — she was MINE!

Somehow in spite of us, Catherine Elizabeth has survived 16 years. It is truly a wonder, because there have been some parenting of the year moments that even we can’t believe.

Tucking her ever so gently into the car seat the first time, then slamming the car door shut. We have film of her  6 lb., 3 oz., body jumping right through the car roof at the noise. (We made up for that by driving down the Post Road at 5 mph. I think it took us 40 minutes to make the 20-minute trip home.)

Failing to buckle a month-old Catherine in to the stroller at Tod’s Point for the 5-foot move to a quieter spot under the trees. She tumbled right out, of course, and I was sure I’d killed her, or maimed her, or something. Although she quieted down in short order and demanded a feeding, I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed until Basil called the doctor.

The bug incident at 9 months old was another moment of truth — I think the staff at the pediatrician’s office STILL snickers when we come in. They did laugh out loud when — at my teary insistence — Basil went there to ask if Catherine would come to any harm from eating the poor insect I pulled out of her mouth one leg or wing at a time.

And there was the time we miscalculated the appropriate age for a first trip to a McDonald’s play area and Basil had to get inside the cage full of plastic balls and fish her out from the bottom.

Sadly, there’s much, much more. We’ve slammed her tiny fingers in the closet door and in the elevator. Basil once lost her in the mall. We’ve failed to believe her when she’s claimed illness, forgotten to feed her, allowed her to appear in public wearing outfits of her own design.

I won’t even get into the many ways we still embarrass her on a regular basis.

Suffice it to say we’ve failed her again and again. Yet, she’s turning out to be a pretty terrific person — smart, kind, beautiful and with a killer sense of humor.

I guess with parents like us, she must be able to laugh to cope!

Happy Birthday, beautiful girl of mine who is loved so very much. May all your wishes come true.


Catherine -- ready to party!

About Terri S. Vanech

Wife, mother, communications specialist, Jazzercise instructor and recently reunited adoptee. I'm living out loud -- and trying to make it all work -- in midlife. Having a sense of humor sure helps.


5 thoughts on “16 Candles in My Heart Will Glow

  1. Happy Birthday to your beautiful daughter. (I just love it when kids eat bugs.)

    Posted by Fran Dorf | April 3, 2012, 4:53 pm
  2. Oops! verklempt! Hate when I misspell a word!

    Posted by Celia Taylor | April 2, 2012, 8:42 am
  3. I’m verkempt right now! These milestone birthdays are wonderful and just a little sad at the same time. I’m sure everyone will tell you they also have hair-raising stories of bad parenting moments, but when our kids turn out to be good people, we have to admit we’re pretty darn good at what we do.
    Happy birthday to your lovely daughter, Catherine. I hope all her wishes come true as well.

    Posted by Celia Taylor | April 2, 2012, 8:42 am

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