Monday, June 10, 2002

Happy 10th Birthday Jessica

.Ten years ago tomorrow at about 8pm I gave birth to my first child. I was 25, Doug was 23. The world is a lot different here in the little universe that is our family than it was on that sunny day, and it is also different out in the greater universe as well. But on this day, a decade ago, it was all about us. And her.

She was due ten years ago today, so I can go ahead and write this entry. This would have been her birthday, possibly.

She didn't come on the 10th, but the next morning she started her entry to the world very early. Mostly due to physics. My downstairs neighbors were fighting at 7 am. They were total losers who would sit at home all day cooped up in the apartment collecting SSI and smoking pot. They were into it tooth and nail, and I sat up in bed (rather forcefully and with vim and vigor) so I could go down there and kick their asses. And I broke water.

Like a cannon, I broke water. All over the cat at the foot of the bed. All over the wall. I was shocked. I didn't think that was possible but there it was. A shrieking cat, fighting neighbors, and my poor husband who had gotten home from work at 4am trying his best to sleep through it all.

"Honey," I shook him tentatively, "Honey wake up. I broke water."


"Honey seriously, I think it's time to have the baby."

"Are you sure you broke water?" He hadn't even rolled over to look at me. The poor thing was one tired puppy.

Uh, ask the cat. "Yeah, I'm sure." So he rolls over and sees the mess, sees the cat, sees me and says "Okay then," with a slight excitement but more of a stunned awareness.

Actual labor with her didn't start until 2pm. She was born at 7:57pm. "Just in time for the Simpsons!" I said to Doug as they handed her to me. I never knew that 10 years later she'd be a certified expert in Simpsons lore.

So that's how she came here.

It was all pretty shocking, but with time I got used to being a mommy. And I enjoyed her being a baby. I enjoy her now being a big girl, with her sardonic wit and her crazy laugh that just won't stop even when I say "Okay, we get it. Time to stop laughing like a freak."

Back then though, she wasn't yet the talented writer and watercolor artist, the tallest girl in her class, the expert in the kitchen and big fan of Alton Brown. She was a baby. A little tiny baby. And she was all ours. June 11, 1992 was a day that changed my life forever.

What can I say about the person who singlehandedly changed my life, my outlook, my body and my soul?

What can I give her when I have no money to buy her the horse she wants, or take her to the movies to see every movie she wants?

How can I raise her so she'll be kind to others, not care about what others think of her, and always do the right thing, no matter what?

She made me want to have more, and she makes me never regret for one minute the fact that I have her. Sometimes she wears me out. Sometimes she is downright cruel to her brother. Othertimes, I'm amazed at the depth of understanding and genius she exhibits. She shocks me, she stuns me, she makes me proud. She overwhelms me, and she makes me laugh my ass off. She's the best.

One of the things I like to do to her is take her to the grocery store, and then dance in the aisle around her to whatever crap song they are playing on the muzak. She feigns embarassment, and laughs at me. The one thing I can say that I still can do is make her laugh.

Sometimes she dances with me, and I know that she's my offspring. A freak. A happy freak.

I will look back on that with immense joy when I'm old and in a home.

And she's payin' the bill.

Today I look back on a decade. One where my husband and I packed on the weight, the debt, the work experience, assumed ownership of property, added dogs and another kid to our clan.

I look at political changes, turmoil, scandals, tragedies, national emergencies and once in a while great sporting events.

I put the day to day happenings into perspective by looking at my daughter and realizing that history happens while our children grow. Sometimes we pay closer attention to current events or sitcoms than we do our kids. But I try really hard to look at them as growing with our country, developing like we did through the 70s and 80s.

Jessie will hopefully be survive the bad fashion, horrible pop music ensembles, and perhaps come into their own and make an impact on history in a positive way. Then, she will have her own kids and be able to watch them evolve with the times, help them grow through it. I can only hope we do a great job.

Some would say that the first ten years of her life we can show that we have done a great job. She's a great kid. Has her flaws, but hell it's her birthday so let's over look those. She certainly is the most unique 10 year old I know. And hopefully will remain a good friend to me for the decades to come.

But now comes the hard part -- the next ten years of her life. The teen years. Eventually, college. Cross your fingers. Pray for us. Wish us luck.

People tell you when you're going to have a baby that it's going to change your life, RUIN your life. You're never going to have fun again. You'll never be able to go out. They'll wreck all your stuff. You'll be in debt until you die exhausted and grey of hair at an early age.

Usually these people don't have kids. Keep that in mind when they offer you advice. They just know what they THINK, not what is true.

They see it as the end of your youth, the end of what's important.

What they don't know due to their total lack of perspective, and what people who already have kids don't tell you (they keep quiet because they know the secret) is that the kid thing WILL change your life.

It will make you different. It will make you stronger. It will make you wiser, more aware. Less of an asshole. Less shallow. Less selfish. You have to be. Someone relies on you. Someone NEEDS you for everything. And you are ABLE. You are not prepared, but you learn.

And these little people come into your life and rip your heart out when they cry, when they get hurt. They make you brave, they make you stand up for them because they need an advocate. They become your reason, your purpose. And you love them more than anything you ever imagined possible.

They change your life alright. They ruin it sometimes, for a minute or two, perhaps for a lifetime if things don't turn out perfect. But when they are born, they are yours and a blank slate, and you are a creator. A teacher, a guide, an artist and a mad scientist. You form them, shape them, guide them and protect them. You are a police officer and a guidance counselor. You are a hero and a bane to their existence.

You are a parent, and you are new and different from that minute forward.

I love this girl.

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