As My Oldest Turns Fourteen
I held you for the first time as a girl doing her best to be a woman, hoping she looked like she knew how to handle an infant. As many times as the nurses came to check on me, I believe I must have failed fairly miserably at that.
Your dad and I gave each other brave smiles and whispered our questions to each other about exactly how the diaper was supposed to fit around your healing unbillical cord and was that soft spot on the top of your head supposed to be there?
We wrapped you up tight and covered you in the new blanket as we carried you out into the West Texas heat and put you in the car that had sat in the hospital parking lot all weekend. We triple checked the straps that held you in the seat and gently tucked another rolled up blanket between your scrunched face and the head support, trying to fill in the extra space so your neck would be safe. I rode in the back beside you, shielding your eyes from the sun, and your dad drove the thirty miles home at a speed I'd never seen him attempt, elderly women passing us in the turning lane with angry looks.
It wasn't until we went to take you out of the car and carry you into the trailer house that we realized you had been carefully strapped into a carrier that hadn't been belted to the seat. One detail overlooked. Two deflated parents.
Thank you, my love, for your patience with us. You are, after all, the first time we've done this, you know. Even now, as I scour the internet to find out what face cleaner works best for teenage boys, as your dad tries to explain what the doctor will need to check at your first sport's physical, as we set guidelines for your cell phone, and as we answer your questions about life--- you are the front-runner. We won't always get it right, as I'm sure you've figured out by now. We may forget to strap you into the car. But, we will always love you. And we will always pray for God to cover our mistakes and grant you grace. And we will always be proud of the way you love us, your imperfect parents.
On your fourteenth birthday, I am now a woman who fondly remembers the girl-mother she once was, thankful for your part in helping me grow up, honored to do the same for you.