Happy Birthday, Jacqueline!
My second-born daughter, previously named Betsy....by me - when I gave birth to her, after 4 months of daily throwing up, followed by about 160 days of indigestion - topped off by 8 weeks of swollen feet, hands, and indefatigable fatigue - all while caring for her 1 yr old brother (and by 'caring for' I mean wheeling the umbrella stroller -aka his 2nd home - to the TV set to watch three consecutive hours of Sesame Street while I laid on the couch with a bucket by my side) -
.....My little B....My Besty-Boo....My extrovert who came home from every park outing with a new best friend (after having her 'shyness' spanked out of her at about age 2)...My fashionista.... My world traveler/missionary wannabe...My gourmet cook....My 'fun' babysitter...my beach bride... the mother of my amazing grandson, Eli.
She's 25 today. And it hurts a tad. It went too fast.
I can close my eyes and picture her sucking her thumb and holding her wa-wa, which was really anything she grabbed from my lingerie drawer (!), - and I can hear her singing "I want to marry Daddy when I grow up". I see her playing dress-up by the hour with her brother, and fighting to keep up with him (only 17 mths older) - Oh no!..Not keep up with him....Win out over him. And anyone else dumb enough to go up against her. I can hear her playing the piano and being better than anyone around her, yet rarely practicing.
I can remember sitting on the couch and teaching her to read her Bible. She was an easy student. A fast learner. I was her only teacher for all her school years and she way surpassed me in every subject. Homeschooling causes a mother and child to be very, very close. Lots of hours together. My first two children were homebodies - content to be with me and whatever I was doing. But Jacqueline was made to be 'out' and about - and eventually it was other people she was sharing her innermost thoughts with. I had a hard time letting go of her. I'm sure she remembers.
I can remember when she called from a week-long worldview camp in Colorado, where she went knowing no one, to say she was running for President of her class. I tried to act excited for her but I'm sure I didn't hide my belief that she was going to be disappointed. Of course, she won. And they asked her to stay and be on staff.
She's got my competitive genes - my sense of humor - my love for literature - my love for being the best :) And she's got her Dad's nice coloring, his hands, his determination, his cooking ability, his great hair (when he had hair....) and his fierce loyalty to people.
I can't really stay melancholy when I think about her now, as a wife and mother. She was the daughter who was going to be single for a long...time. She was going to SEE the world. She was going to change the world.
I joke with her that I fell in love with her husband before she did. He was/is tenacious and embraces a challenge. When she could only roll her eyes at the thought of "liking" him, he told my husband he was going to marry her someday.
And he did.
He convinced her that it would be far more fun to see the world together.
And I'm convinced that a godly marriage, and now Christ-centered parenting, is world-changing in the best possible way. It's getting rarer to see that in a couple- and harder to do. But that same determination that made her a headstrong child will now be used of God to keep her on the course, to help her to stand alone, and to bring glory to her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
I'm sure my sweet 25 year old 'baby' will discover, just as her mother did, that if she just focuses on being a faithful, intentional mother - her children will outshine her, and anything she gives up in order for them to succeed will be unequivocally worth the sacrifice.
I love you, Jacqueline Elizabeth. Happy birthday, sweetheart!
(Tomorrow is Saturday, and the Every (Week)Day in May Extravaganza is officially on hiatus over the weekend - but I'll see you Monday for details on my theme. Remember the hint? It has something to do with magazines.)