Friday, January 05, 2007

Happy Birthday (again)!

In light of my last post I thought it would be appropriate to redeem my now-9-year-old's character and celebrate her birthday today, even though her actual birthday is New Year’s Eve!!

As you might know, our first two kids are 15 months apart, and my baptism into motherhood was not a smooth one (see this post and this one). I’d always dreamed of having a large family, but I spent most of my first years as a mother desperately unprepared for the challenge that lay ahead. My husband and I agreed we needed to wait a while for another baby. I was exhausted and frustrated, and began to think I’d never get beyond managing two kids…EVER.

Then the miracle happened. One day when our son was about 2, the light came on for me. Suddenly everyone was sleeping through the night, getting in and out of carseats (almost) by themselves, and I could see daylight again. I wanted another baby!

When this child was born (after sixteen weeks on monitored bed rest for preterm labor) I got a new lease on motherhood. I so enjoyed her babyhood - not because I loved her more than the first two, but because I was finally getting the hang of things. I finally let go of trying to “do it all,” and accepted myself as just a mom. I had surrendered.

But I digress.

This child’s place in the family is a unique one. She’s technically the exact middle child. She’s the youngest of the “first three,” and the oldest of the “last three.” As a middle child, she is comfortable in lots of different situations, and she has confidence to spare. The only rub is when she wants to be included with the big kids but isn’t always mature enough; or when she’s too old for the little girls’ play. Scarily, she reminds me so much of myself: a bit of a thinker, and a little on the sensitive side but not knowing quite what to do with all those feelings.

So she is making her own way. For one thing, she’s extremely smart. She has a mind for details, and I'm always grateful for her handwritten reminders on the calendar, my mirror, or on the fridge. And she's funny. She has a way of throwing in well-timed one-liners at the dinner table that can keep us all in stitches. She can’t stand girly stuff. Torture for her would be to make her wear ruffles or worse, pink. Heaven for her would be to live in the country where she could go out with her BB gun and pocket knife and just explore. She’s also athletic, and plays basketball and softball with surprising aggressiveness. She spends her free time reading, exploring (yes, in suburbia), playing computer games, taking care of our animals, and (in her brother’s footsteps) now taking up the bass guitar.

I love this child’s tenderness (which, incredibly, comes out as anger most of the time) but I admit I don’t always parent her with the gentleness she needs (last post, case in point!). I see all of her talents and I pray constantly that God will draw her to Himself in spite of my inadequacies as a parent. He is big enough for the task, and I believe He has a special plan for her.

It is a joy to watch it unfold.

I love you, Sweetheart. Happy Birthday!


Anonymous said...

That is such a sweet post. Happy Birthday to your little one. She LOOKS athletic, very beautiful girl!

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday! A New Year's Eve Baby! How special you are! And you know what? My oldest girl is allergic to pink and ruffles too. And she plays basketball!

Anonymous said...

She sounds like such a great kid - happy belated birthday to her!

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday to your little girl! She sounds like a wonderful kid!

Anonymous said...

You have described by middle child exactly except he is a boy with two older sisters and two younger brothers. These two have way too much in common. I could almost write a post on him and copy and paste your post. He just turned 10. Even his babyhood was pure joy for many of the same reasons and he came only nineteen months after his sister.

Happy Birthday to your sweet daughter. It is the middle child who balances out the rest of us.
Can you tell "The NEW Birth Order Book" is on my reading list for the year.

Anonymous said...

Wow - I hear you - my first three boys were each 15 months apart so I feel your pain!!! I kept asking God if He really meant to do that!!! But now I look back and wouldn't want it any other way!!

Anonymous said...

It sounds like she is a beautiful child, inside and out. I hope that she had a wonderful birthday!

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday to your daughter, she sounds like a great girl.

I wanted to let you know I have been reading your blog for awhile, but never got around to commenting until now.

I have 7 kids, 2 grown and out and 5 at home. In many ways your life sounds like mine.

I've really enjoyed reading some of the posts in your archives. What a great blog you have.

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful post for your daughter. I know she will enjoy reading it when she gets older (and now!)

Anonymous said...

It's such a gift to be able to see and appreciate your child exactly as they are. That's wonderful, Katherine.

By the way, your husband is smart. Everything loaded up quickly!!

Anonymous said...

What sweet post and beautiful daughter!

Donna said...

I love how you described your daughter! She sounds like a wonderful girl.
I just found your site linked from Organizing Junkie. Mind if I link your site to mine? We'll be raising 5 soon (we're adopting a child from China)

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday to your wonderful daughter. May the upcoming year bring her unbelieveable blessings and joy.

Anonymous said...

How special.....I loved this are such a great mother...and she seems like a great gal!

Anonymous said...

I'm glad I'm not alone. After my 1st 2 I decided I couldn't handle anymore. Then we decided on another and I, too, enjoyed the baby phase for the first time. What a gift! Now I'm expecting number 4. I'll be reading your blog to get tips! Happy birthday to your sweet tomboy!